It Tastes Better British
Britain annually produces a great range of fruits and vegetables and with the growing return to more sustainable and organic farming methods, the food produced just keeps getting better and tastier!
With supermarkets becoming more committed to selling more British produce, and with the proliferation of farmers markets springing up across the country, allowing the consumer to buy direct from the farmer, our access to fresh and delicious seasonal foods has dramatically improved.
Many parts of the UK specialise in growing different crops, depending on the local soil and the rainfall. For instance, East Anglian farmers around Cambridgeshire grow a lot of asparagus, in part due to the rich peaty soil. It is a great treat to buy fresh produce from a box directly outside a farmer’s house, or on the roadside when passing a fruit nursery. There are now many opportunities to visit a local fruit nursery or orchards and 'pick your own'. Keep an eye out for adverts locally.
The Great Taste of British FruitsStrawberries - these are quite easy to grow, and field-grown British strawberries taste much more flavoursome than those grown in more forced and accelerated conditions such as polytunnels. Luscious served with ice cream and a must if attending Wimbledon!
Raspberries - a subtler taste, full of vitamins, and very juicy.
Rhubarb - some love and some hate rhubarb, still a great favourite in crumbles: try mixing with citrus fruits and berries to sweeten the flavour.
Apples - the numbers of apple species have rapidly declined over this century, due to the rise of monoculture agricultural methods. Efforts are being made to save apple varieties in seed banks worldwide. UK still produces many great varieties. Bramley apples are great for cooking with: make a crumble or apple pie today! Or cider!
Pears -the subtler, juicer sister of the apple. Very juicy, packed with goodness.
Gooseberries - this gorgeous fruit has been in decline recently, now thankfully making a comeback this summer, and available in shops again. A bitter fruit, must be cooked, but rewards the effort with a unique, sharp taste.
Plums - ah, the English plum! Gorgeous colouring, and succulent flesh. Also, look out for greengages, which taste something between a plum and a gooseberry.
Blackberries (wild) - keep an eye out for wild growing blackberries. What a summer treat to forage for this fruit, and return home with bags of them to eat now, cook with (combines well with apples in a crumble), or freeze for another day.
As of yet, mangoes and bananas aren't grown commercially in the UK (some are grown in private greenhouses and botanic gardens) so those available at the grocer are imported, but with the change in climate over recent years, it may be possible!
The Great Taste of British VegetablesAsparagus - a summer vegetable, said to be an aphrodisiac.... has a fine, subtle taste. Steam whole (tips and stalks) for no more than 3 minutes and serve straight, with a knob of butter and a lemon wedge.
Sprouts - not everyone's favourite, particularly with bad memories of soggy sprouts served at school dinners, but delicious if pan-fried quickly with oil and garlic (a Jamie Oliver recipe).
Leeks - a Welsh national symbol, beloved of comedian Max Boyce. Great in a leek and potato soup, or served simply to accompany a main dish.
Potatoes - perhaps the most enduring of all British produce. With a range of varieties, the most well-known being King Edward's, can be boiled, steamed, chipped, roasted... depending on your preference and variety. Easily grown.