As the cold settles in, we can offer plenty of colour to banish those November blues. Highlights this month are the citrus – especially clementines – and a dazzling array of squashes. It’s also a great month for British brassicas.
Clementines, oranges and lemons are typically from Spain, with some high quality Italian options too. There’s still plums from the Continent but peaches, nectarines, apricots and melons are over. English apples and pears are well worth a shout. Comice pears are in their prime. Newer apple varieties include Spartan and Braeburn – the key late variety. Bramley are also on hand. Not a great time for soft fruit – although redcurrants always liven up festive menus.
All the brassicas are available: broccoli, purple sprouting, kales, cabbages and the like. Savoy cabbages in particular are looking magnificent. Bunched carrots are a good buy. January King are also coming in now. It’s almost the end for English salad crops, such as lettuce and tomatoes. The last of the runner beans are still here. Plenty of fine gear from the Continent, including celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, spiky artichokes, purple garlic and fennel. And, of course, help yourself to a massive range of winter squashes in all manner of colours, shapes and sizes.
Quince is a lovely fruit to cook with – very underrated, an an excellent match for pork and game. Italy is sending through all the fine bitter leaves such as radicchio and chicory. Spanish chillies are also a good call.