Seasonal Produce News - December 2017

  January King Cabbages    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    DECEMBER   November went out with a cold snap.  Good for the British Brassicas and Root vegetables which will only get tastier for a blast of frost, but continuing cold will be bad news for more tender leaf crops like Chard.  English Apples and Pears were to the fore in November and the variety of new season citrus began to increase.  Another highlight was the arrival of short season Fenland Celery and bitter leaves from Italy in the form of Chicoria and Radicchio.    

January King Cabbages

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

DECEMBER

November went out with a cold snap.  Good for the British Brassicas and Root vegetables which will only get tastier for a blast of frost, but continuing cold will be bad news for more tender leaf crops like Chard.  English Apples and Pears were to the fore in November and the variety of new season citrus began to increase.  Another highlight was the arrival of short season Fenland Celery and bitter leaves from Italy in the form of Chicoria and Radicchio.    

  Castelfranco Radicchio    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   Writing on the first day of December, colours and textures catching my eye are smooth and deep-cleft Pumpkins in greens, flame-reds and burnished browns; crinkly-leaved emerald, black/green and purple hued Brassicas; yellow and pale green and orange Citrus, including the first Tarocco oranges; deep red Pomegranates; and frills of Radicchio in yellows, pinks and burgundies.  And then there is our London Fermentary fridge, filled with jars and bottles of vibrant Fermented vegetables, sauces and Water Kefirs.  Scent comes from the boxes of Quince to my left.   Right now we have:     British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , spectacular green and purple hued  January King , deeply crinkled  Black Cabbage  (Cavolo Nero), green and purple  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops  which have benefited from a kiss of frost.  Beautiful English  Purple Sprouting Broccoli ,  Cauliflower  and swirling lime-green  Romanesco , with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.    Root vegetables including  Celeriac ,  Jerusalem Artichoke ,  Swede , and  Beetroot  are all British grown this week, as are the  Leeks  and  Fenland Celery .  There is French  Scorzonera  and also organic  Heritage Carrots .   English Chard  growth is slowing so leaves are also coming in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  There is  Watercress  still from our Sussex Farmer,  Kingfisher .  Pale green  Kohlrabi  is here from Italy.   Roscoff Onions  from France and large, sweet  White Onions  from Italy.  The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy include  Puntarelle  (Catalogna) and  Cime di Rapa .    Bitter leaves in the form of  Radicchio   Treviso  ( Prococe  and  Tardivo  types now), yellow, red-flecked  Castelfranco , round  Chioggia , rose-like  Pink Radicchio ,   and large-leaved green  Escarole .  Joining the party this week is the beautiful frilly white/yellow  Riccetta .  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.   Winter Squash  and  Pumpkins  -  Red Kuri (Onion Squash) , French  Spaghetti Squash  and burnished  Musquee de Provence Pumpkins  and  Delica Pumpkins  from Italy.    Potato  varieties this week are  Cyprus    and  Desiree  and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English  Pink Fir Apple  and  La Ratte  from France.     Dessert Apple  varieties from our Kent farmer this week are  Cox,   Crown Gold ,  Kent , and  Russet .  We have  Bramley  cooking apples from them too.  The  Pears  have been particularly good this year and the farm has supplied us with  Comice  and  Conference .    Pomegranates  this week are from Spain.  We also have ripe  Cachi/Persimmons  from Italy.  The first    Tarocco Oranges  from Sicily.  Being early season, they lack blush to the skin and may not yet have developed much colour to the flesh but we welcome their arrival.    There are   Italian  Navelina, Clementines  and  Leafy Lemons , and  Bergamots  too.  We also have good quality Spanish  Clementines .    Crunchy, salty winter  Camone  and  Marinda   Tomatoes .  Fresh organic  Ginger Root  and  Turmeric Root .

Castelfranco Radicchio

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Writing on the first day of December, colours and textures catching my eye are smooth and deep-cleft Pumpkins in greens, flame-reds and burnished browns; crinkly-leaved emerald, black/green and purple hued Brassicas; yellow and pale green and orange Citrus, including the first Tarocco oranges; deep red Pomegranates; and frills of Radicchio in yellows, pinks and burgundies.  And then there is our London Fermentary fridge, filled with jars and bottles of vibrant Fermented vegetables, sauces and Water Kefirs.  Scent comes from the boxes of Quince to my left.  Right now we have:  

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which have benefited from a kiss of frost.

Beautiful English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco, with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.  

Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot are all British grown this week, as are the Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There is French Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots.

English Chard growth is slowing so leaves are also coming in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  There is Watercress still from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher.

Pale green Kohlrabi is here from Italy.

Roscoff Onions from France and large, sweet White Onions from Italy.

The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy include Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa.  

Bitter leaves in the form of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types now), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, and large-leaved green Escarole.  Joining the party this week is the beautiful frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), French Spaghetti Squash and burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins from Italy. 

Potato varieties this week are Cyprus and Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  

Dessert Apple varieties from our Kent farmer this week are Cox, Crown Gold, Kent, and Russet.  We have Bramley cooking apples from them too.  The Pears have been particularly good this year and the farm has supplied us with Comice and Conference

Pomegranates this week are from Spain.  We also have ripe Cachi/Persimmons from Italy.

The first Tarocco Oranges from Sicily.  Being early season, they lack blush to the skin and may not yet have developed much colour to the flesh but we welcome their arrival.  There are Italian Navelina, Clementines and Leafy Lemons, and Bergamots too.  We also have good quality Spanish Clementines.  

Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes.

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

  Romanesco    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   So, in the final month of the year,  what produce can we     expect to see during the rest of December?     British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , spectacular green and purple hued  January King , deeply crinkled  Black Cabbage  (Cavolo Nero), green and purple  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops  which get better after a little frost.  We expect to have English  Purple Sprouting Broccoli  through the month.   Cauliflower  and  Romanesco , with its always-astonishing natural lime-green colour – the creaminess of cauliflower with the taste of broccoli.    British-grown Root vegetables including  Celeriac ,  Jerusalem Artichoke ,  Swede , and  Beetroot ,  Leeks  and  Fenland Celery .  There will be  Salsify  or  Scorzonera  and also organic  Heritage Carrots .   English Chard  growth is slowing so we can expect leaves to come in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  We expect the  Watercress  from our Sussex Farmer,  Kingfisher , to continue.   Roscoff Onions  from France.  The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy including  Puntarelle  (Catalogna) and  Cime di Rapa  should continue.    We should have bitter leaves throughout the month.  Expect to see heads of  Radicchio   Treviso  ( Prococe  and  Tardivo  types), yellow, red-flecked  Castelfranco , round red/white  Chioggia , rose-like  Pink Radicchio ,   large-leaved green/white  Escarole  and frilly white/yellow  Riccetta .  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.   Winter Squash  and  Pumpkins  -  Red Kuri (Onion Squash) , burnished  Musquee de Provence Pumpkins  and  Delica Pumpkins .    Potato  varieties are likely to be  Cyprus ,  Desiree  and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English  Pink Fir Apple  and  La Ratte  from France.     Dessert Apple  varieties and  Bramley  cookers from our Kent farmer will continue to arrive.  We should also have  Pears  which are likely to be  Comice  and  Conference .    Pomegranates  throughout the month.  Supplies of  Tarocco Oranges , and  Citrus  in general, will increase as the month progresses.    Crunchy, salty winter  Camone  and  Marinda   Tomatoes  throughout December.  Don’t forget our fresh organic  Ginger Root  and  Turmeric Root .  On the run-up to Christmas we will have plenty of stocks of  Nuts   in their shells ,  Dried Fruits , fresh  Cranberries  and vacuum-packed  Chestnuts .    We will also have more of those juicy Bottle-Nosed  Pineapples .

Romanesco

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

So, in the final month of the year, what produce can we expect to see during the rest of December?  

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which get better after a little frost.

We expect to have English Purple Sprouting Broccoli through the month.  Cauliflower and Romanesco, with its always-astonishing natural lime-green colour – the creaminess of cauliflower with the taste of broccoli.  

British-grown Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot, Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There will be Salsify or Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots.

English Chard growth is slowing so we can expect leaves to come in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  We expect the Watercress from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher, to continue.

Roscoff Onions from France.

The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa should continue.  

We should have bitter leaves throughout the month.  Expect to see heads of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round red/white Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, large-leaved green/white Escarole and frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins

Potato varieties are likely to be Cyprus, Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  

Dessert Apple varieties and Bramley cookers from our Kent farmer will continue to arrive.  We should also have Pears which are likely to be Comice and Conference

Pomegranates throughout the month.

Supplies of Tarocco Oranges, and Citrus in general, will increase as the month progresses.  

Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes throughout December.

Don’t forget our fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

On the run-up to Christmas we will have plenty of stocks of Nuts in their shells, Dried Fruits, fresh Cranberries and vacuum-packed Chestnuts.  

We will also have more of those juicy Bottle-Nosed Pineapples.

  Sicilian Early Season Tarocco Oranges    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    GOOD TO KNOW:    As we race towards Christmas, a word about opening hours.   Our Arch at Spa Terminus will be open: 21, 22 and 23 December 08.00-at least 13.00   Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order for collection on any of these days.  We can be contacted by email on:  hello@puntarelle.co.uk   Throughout December we will be selling our seasonal Water Kefirs as usual.  Going into winter, you can expect flavours that match this festive time with spices, citrus and dried fruit notes to the fore.  Examples are:   Pumpkin & Orange Spice Water Kefir   With notes of orange, and gingerbread, we think this seasonal Kefir catches the mood of the time of year perfectly.     Beetroot & Ginger Water Kefir   We had the idea to harness the natural sugars, earthy flavours and dramatic pigment in beetroot for this spicy Kefir and the results, we think, are very pleasing.  Like all our Water Kefirs, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at:  www.londonfermentary.com

Sicilian Early Season Tarocco Oranges

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

GOOD TO KNOW: 

As we race towards Christmas, a word about opening hours.  Our Arch at Spa Terminus will be open: 21, 22 and 23 December 08.00-at least 13.00

Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order for collection on any of these days.  We can be contacted by email on: hello@puntarelle.co.uk

Throughout December we will be selling our seasonal Water Kefirs as usual.  Going into winter, you can expect flavours that match this festive time with spices, citrus and dried fruit notes to the fore.  Examples are:

Pumpkin & Orange Spice Water Kefir

With notes of orange, and gingerbread, we think this seasonal Kefir catches the mood of the time of year perfectly.  

Beetroot & Ginger Water Kefir

We had the idea to harness the natural sugars, earthy flavours and dramatic pigment in beetroot for this spicy Kefir and the results, we think, are very pleasing.

Like all our Water Kefirs, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at: www.londonfermentary.com

  White Bean and Escarole Soup    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   Escarole is one of the sturdier bitter leaves of the Radicchio family and it’s at its best at this time of year.  It works well in hot dishes, particularly soups and if there was ever a time for hot soups, it’s now.  Any white bean will do for this dish and you can use tinned beans if you prefer.  You could replace Escarole with something like Cime di Rapa if you blanch the greens first.    Cannellini bean and escarole soup   250g dried cannellini beans (500g cooked) 1 whole carrot 1 whole stick of celery Half a white onion 2 plump garlic cloves, sliced 1-2 small dried chillies, deseeded and crumbled A handful of basil leaves, torn (or a little basil pesto) a handful of parsley, roughly chopped At least 6 roughly torn escarole leaves 50g parmesan, plus more to serve Extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper   Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.  Drain and bring to the boil in a large pan of fresh water with the whole carrot, celery stick and half onion.  Reduce to a simmer for an hour or more (depending on freshness of the beans).  When the beans are soft, discard the vegetables.  Remove a quarter of the beans, puree and then return them to the pan to thicken the soup.    Gently fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil without browning.  Add the parsley, the fresh basil (if using) and escarole and cook for 1 minute to wilt.  Add this to the pot of beans.  Add grated Parmesan and salt and pepper and the basil pesto (if using).  Serve with a swirl of good olive oil and extra Parmesan. 

White Bean and Escarole Soup

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Escarole is one of the sturdier bitter leaves of the Radicchio family and it’s at its best at this time of year.  It works well in hot dishes, particularly soups and if there was ever a time for hot soups, it’s now.  Any white bean will do for this dish and you can use tinned beans if you prefer.  You could replace Escarole with something like Cime di Rapa if you blanch the greens first. 

Cannellini bean and escarole soup

250g dried cannellini beans (500g cooked)
1 whole carrot
1 whole stick of celery
Half a white onion
2 plump garlic cloves, sliced
1-2 small dried chillies, deseeded and crumbled
A handful of basil leaves, torn (or a little basil pesto)
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
At least 6 roughly torn escarole leaves
50g parmesan, plus more to serve
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.  Drain and bring to the boil in a large pan of fresh water with the whole carrot, celery stick and half onion.  Reduce to a simmer for an hour or more (depending on freshness of the beans).  When the beans are soft, discard the vegetables.  Remove a quarter of the beans, puree and then return them to the pan to thicken the soup.

Gently fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil without browning.  Add the parsley, the fresh basil (if using) and escarole and cook for 1 minute to wilt.  Add this to the pot of beans.  Add grated Parmesan and salt and pepper and the basil pesto (if using).  Serve with a swirl of good olive oil and extra Parmesan.