In February the colours of January continue with pinks, reds, greens and claret-splashed yellows of Chicories, stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb turn from pink to red and the shades of citrus become more varied as more varieties arrive from Sicily. Large, spikey Sardinian and fat, round, Romano Artichokes share space with an array of British root vegetables, including Celeriac and Jerusalem Artichokes, but, undoubtedly, February is the leanest month in the northern hemisphere’s growing calendar.
Here is a taster of the things you can expect to find here at Puntarelle & Co in the month of February:
Vibrant pink-stemmed Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb will continue throughout the month.
Probably the last of the Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd but there will be Clementins that work well too.
Un-treated, un-waxed Blood Oranges, Sweet Clementines and, if we are lucky, Pink Grapefruits.
Deep red, sweet-sharp, Pomegranates.
English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which is particularly good right now, and, creamy Cauliflowers.
Hispi Cabbage from southern Europe.
Crunchy, salty Italian Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes.
From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, Rainbow Chard, Bulb Fennel, Roman Artichokes and spikey Sardinian Artichokes.
Bitter-sweet Italian Greens like Puntarelle and Cime di Rapa and new season Courgettes.
A variety of colourful bitter-sweet pink and red Radicchio and milder-leaved yellow/green Endive.
Vitamin and mineral-rich British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops.
Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot, organic Heritage Carrots and Leeks.
Potato varieties are Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed La Ratte.
Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.
Our freshly-stocked londonfermentary.com fridge this month typically includes Water Kefir flavours like Blood Orange, Yorkshire Rhubarb, Cranberry & Chilli and Honey & Camomile. Don’t forget your refillable bottles for “Kefir on the tap” option. In LF fridge you’ll find an extensive range of seasonal Fermented Vegetables too. Please , check LF website for latest Inspirational Fermentation Course dates www.londonfermentary.com
Here is a recipe using fruits that are at their best right now – that beautiful pink forced Yorkshire Rhubarb and Sicilian Blood Oranges. It’s adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in Tender Volume II and I can think of no simpler way to celebrate these two wonderful ingredients together.
Rhubarb with Blood Orange
4 Blood Oranges
1 vanilla pod
Heat the oven to 200C (180C Fan).
Rinse the rhubarb, cut off and discard the leaves. Chop the stems into short lengths and place in an oven-proof dish.
Remove the peel from two of the oranges, cutting away any white pith, then slice the fruit thickly and add it to the rhubarb.
Squeeze the juice from the remaining two oranges, and pour over the rhubarb.
Add a good tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla pod.
Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven until the rhubarb yields to the pressure of a fork.
Check and adjust the sweetness to your taste.
Allow to cool then spoon into serving glasses, cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but will keep for 2-3 days.