Summer holidays have come to an end but summer seems reluctant to morph into Autumn here. Apples and pears are coming through the doors in abundance, yet Sweetcorn is still arriving.
But now October is here we can see a seasonal shift. Here is the key short-season produce you can expect to find at Puntarelle & Co this month along with all the usual staples:
Apples coming from our favoured farm in Kent include Early Windsor, Greensleeves, Spartan, Orange Pippin, and Worcesters. Pears too are plentiful and include Doyenne du Comice, Conference and Triumph of Vienna - an old French variety with red flush, russet-patched skin and smooth, juicy white flesh.
The English Quince crop is looking particularly good this year and you will find them on our shelves now.
We have fantastic Rainbow Chard, Swiss Chard, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli right now along with Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage, Cauliflowers and crunchy Kohlrabi.
Brussels Sprouts seem to appear earlier and earlier each year and, yes, they are in already. Some Pumpkin and Winter Squash are starting to arrive too.
We have Chanterelles and Girolles from Scotland and expect to have them throughout the month.
Wet Walnuts arrived in late September and we expect to have them through October. Black Figs are still coming in although, surprisingly, the crop hasn’t been good this year.
Coco de Paimpol beans are still with us.
Some of our Autumn Mushrooms may come in from France too.
This month Italian Peaches and melons give way to strawberry/exotic fruits-flavoured Fragola Grapes and delicate-pink Pomegranates from Puglia. They may not be as eye-catching as the deep-red Turkish variety but are a beautiful lead-in to the full pomegranate season.
The start of the new citrus season always excites and, happily, zingy Miyagawa Mandarins and early, unwaxed, Navelina Oranges are already in . We’ll have to wait for the new season Italian lemons but expect Bergamots to be in this month.
Persimmons are just beginning to arrive as I write.
New season Artichokes, bitter-leaved Chicoria and Cima di Rapa are on the shelves and we can expect to have them throughout October.
In our London Fermentary fridges in October you can expect to find seasonal Water Kefir flavours like Fragola Grape and zingy Green Mandarin.
With such an amazing crop of Apples and Pears coming into the arch right now, we have to point you to this simple recipe that tastes so perfectly seasonal. You can find a full version in Nigel Slater’s book Tender: Volume II. It’s delicious but if you want to add a little texture, a scattering of a few toasted almonds is good.
Pears with maple syrup and vanilla
4 large pears
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 drops vanilla extract
Peels the pears, cut in half and scoop out the cores. Bring sugar and water to the boil, add the pears and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to feel tender. Lift the pear halves from the syrup and discard the liquid.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/Gas 4.
Place the pears in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle them with the maple syrup and the vanilla extract. Bake them for around 1 hour or until the pears are meltingly soft and pale gold here and there.
Serve with or without cream.