Summer is here! For a few beautiful months, we can take a little break from brassicas, and enjoy the more colourful, complex and delicate produce of summer.
Yes, you can get strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes all year round, but it really is so worth holding off until now, when they’re truly at their best and full of that distinct taste and aroma that can surely only come from sunshine.
This month’s seasonal list includes things that can grow perhaps a little too well, like courgettes and raspberries.
Only around for a fairly short stint, it’s worth freezing or steeping these little summer gems so you can preserve their flavour for when the season is over. To freeze, lay out on a lined baking tray and open freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezable container for three-six months.
This shrub recipe is one of our favourite non-alcoholic drinks that’s still special enough for a party.
Tip: For raspberry vodka, mix 500g raspberries, 250g white caster sugar, 2 vanilla pods, and 1 litre vodka. Keep in a sterilised 1.5 litre jar for two weeks, shaking occasionally, then strain and bottle. Will keep for up to two years.
For more serving ideas, see our raspberry collection.
Thankfully these are extremely versatile because, as gardeners will know, they produce masses when they grow. As well as these frittatas, courgettes are great in sweet bakes or even cocktails.
For more recipe inspiration, see our courgette collection.
We’re nearing the end of asparagus season now, so grab it while you can. For a new take on this hearty veg, try our shaved asparagus salad recipe.
Tip: To prep, bend each stalk until the stem snaps off at its natural break point. This bit you’re left with, no longer attached to the spear, will be woody and stringy to eat, but you don’t have to bung it in the compost bin just yet. Instead, try making a stock to use in soups or green veg-heavy risottos.
For more recipes, see our asparagus collection.
This tastes great simply wilted for a few minutes in butter, olive oil or in boiling water, then seasoned. Separate from the stems and use as you would spinach, or wilt the leaves whole as in our warm chard & bean salad (see recipe below).
Warm chard & bean salad: Put 100ml olive oil, 50ml garlic oil, 25g parmesan, 1 bunch basil, 1 bunch parsley and the juice of 1 lemon in a blender. Add 50ml water and blitz until smooth, season then tip half into a bowl with 400g can cannellini beans, drained, and toss together.
Blanch 300g whole chard leaves in a large pan of boiling, salted water, cook for 1-2 mins just until wilted, then scoop out with tongs into a colander to let steam-dry for a few moments. Arrange the wilted chard on a large platter, then tuck the dressed beans in and around it.
Drizzle a handful of sourdough breadcrumbs with 2 tsp olive oil and set under a hot grill for 2-3 mins to crisp. Scatter over the salad along with 100g black grapes, halved (optional) and a few shavings of parmesan. Serves 4-6
For more recipe inspiration, see our chard collection.
Browse recipes for, and information on, other ingredients in season in June:
Seasonal food dates in June:
7 June – National Fish & Chip Day
8 June – World Gin Day
Try our gin & tonic ice lollies for a refreshing summer treat.
21-30 June – National Picnic Week
Up your picnic game with Diana Henry’s lamb harissa sausage rolls.
28 June – National Cream Tea Day
Our Pimm’s scones are the perfect fir for a summer afternoon tea.
Other food dates for your diary:
1-2 June – The Big Lunch
13-16 June – BBC Good Food Show Summer
Learn a new skill from our team at the NEC in Birmingham. Find more information about the Summer Show.
16 June – Father’s Day