The fig is the most revered and ancient of fruit trees – mentioned in the Bible. “They are a gift from God”.
While figs are available most of the year from around the world, they tend to be a rather expensive delicacy. However, August / September is the time to take advantage of the huge supply of Black Bursa figs from Turkey.
In the United Kingdom, rhubarb grows in two crops. The first crop is known as forced rhubarb and is usually available from January to early February. The forced roots of the rhubarb are grown in fields for approximately two years where they store energy. The rhubarb is then grown in forcing sheds where all light is excluded which encourages the plants to make an early growth before being harvested by candlelight. In the United Kingdom forced rhubarb is predominantly grown in an area in West Yorkshire dubbed as the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’. Due to being forced, the rhubarb is more delicately flavoured and tender with a crimson stalk and pale green leaves.
Also known as endive, chicory is a forced crop, grown in complete darkness, which accounts for its blanched white, yellow-tipped leaves. It has a distinctive, cigar-like shape, and the crisp leaves have a mildly bitter flavour.
This fantastic tuber is just entering it’s UK season. With their taupe-coloured skin and ivory flesh they look perfect on any menu for this time of year. The flesh of the artichoke is slightly waxy, sweet, nutty and distinctive. So sweet, in fact, that a little can go a long way.
Make the very best of the short Blood Orange season. This underused beauty enhances any menu. Blood oranges mainly come from Mediterranean countries (Southern Italy in particular) and are often considered to be among the finest dessert oranges in the world.
It’s a long winter of traditional vegetables which gloriously include all the festive heroes – sprouts, swede, parsnips and red cabbage. Consider these as an alternative to keep things interesting and healthy: