What’s in season – November

We've partnered with Gardener's World to celebrate late autumn produce. Discover what to buy, cook and eat in November, plus how to grow your own veg.

Roasted root veg in an oval bowl

This is always a busy month, with preparations for the festive break starting to demand more of our time and attention. To lend a helping hand, there are some great things in season right now, such as leafy greens that can be wilted in a flash or more robust root veg that, once cooked, can be used as a base for quick meals when time is tight.

Beetroot is particularly useful as it has a long season and is packed with vitamins and minerals. Plus, the leaves can be cooked in the same way as spinach or chard.

We've chosen a variety of recipes to help you make the most of this season's produce, including a rich gratin for entertaining, warming soup and hearty pasties that are ideal for a Bonfire Night supper.
 

Chard

Three chard leavesAlso known as Swiss chard, it’s available in a range of traffic-light colours and produces a constant supply of fresh leaves that can be cut off as needed. Leave the central crown in place so the plant continues to produce foliage until it goes to seed in late spring. Select young, shiny leaves to eat and compost older ones.

Chard gratin in white bowl
In warmer parts of the country, chard can be picked through the winter. However, growth slows in cold weather and chard won’t survive if the temperature dips to around -15C.

Try using chard in our cheesy chard gratin, or see our chard collection.
 

Autumn cabbage

Head of green cabbage
Cabbage is wonderful in soups, stocks or gently braised, and works particularly well when served with pork. Try it in the below chorizo soup, or shredded and lightly cooked in stock and caraway seeds to serve with pork chops and potatoes.

Red soup in white bowl

Use secateurs, loppers or a serrated knife to cut the cabbage head away from the stem, then peel away any old or damaged outer leaves to compost. Reduce pest and disease by clearing all plant debris from your
cabbage patch at the end of the season, ready to grow a different veg next year. 

Try using this hearty veg in our chorizo & chickpea soup or see our cabbage collection.
 

Swede

Swede with stem and leavesSwede is often overlooked, but it’s actually a key ingredient in one of our all-time favourite foods, the Cornish pasty. Only those made in Cornwall to an official recipe can be called Cornish, but ours are a delight wherever you are.

Pastie on grey plate
Swedes are ready for harvesting when the roots are around 10-15cm in diameter. Lever them out of the ground with a fork as required, or store them in slightly damp sand in a cool but frost-free and dry shed. 

Try these perfect pasties or see our swede collection for more recipes.
 

Beetroot

Beetroot with stem and leavesYou can buy beetroot ready-cooked, but check the pack before you buy – some are dressed in vinegar, which can ruin your recipe, especially if you’re baking a cake. To have more control or to use ones you’ve grown yourself, bake them in foil in a low oven for around 2-3 hrs or simmer in a pan of water for about 1 hr until tender.

Beetroot hummus with vegetables
Wash the beetroots before cooking, but don’t peel them. Keep the root and a few centimetres of stalk attached when cooking – this stops too much of the colour leaching out. Harvest beetroots when small (around 5cm in diameter) for the best flavour, but if you have too many to eat straightaway, you can leave them in the ground until later by covering with a straw blanket.

Try this beetroot hummus party platter or see our beetroot collection for more ideas.
 

Red cabbage

 

Red cabbage illustration

It’s a staple on Christmas Day, but as its season is coming to an end, why not make more of it in late autumn? It lends itself well to slow cooking, but it’s also good when shredded raw into winter salads. Look for firm, shiny cabbages that feel heavy for their size. Red cabbage keeps well when wrapped and chilled.

Open tortilla wrap filled with curried tofu and red cabbage

Try the quick red cabbage relish from this curried tofu wraps recipe. It’s really simple and ideal for bulking out an impromptu buffet. Pickled red cabbage is such an underrated ingredient – it's cheap and you can enjoy it
 all year round.

Try it as an accompaniment to a katsu curry, in burgers, or as part of a sushi salad bowl. Or, see more red cabbage ideas.

Parsnips  

Parsnip illustration

Using parsnips instead of potatoes makes mash a little less stodgy and adds a more complex flavour. Plus, you can eat this dish one-handed with a fork, making it perfect for a night full of Christmas card writing and present wrapping. Parsnip mash is the perfect accompaniment to this comforting sweet red pepper & pork meatballs recipe.

Meatballs in tomato sauce with parsnip mash on a plate

Parsnips – due 
to their natural sweetness – work well in cakes too, particularly ones with added coconut like this honey, parsnip & coconut cake

Find more parsnip recipes.
 

Girolles 

Illustration of two girolle mushrooms

We’re just at the end of the girolle season, but they’re too good not to mention. If you can get your hands on the last of this year’s wild Scottish girolles (also known as chanterelles), make the most of them before they’re gone. Don’t be tempted to pick them yourself unless you’re guided by a mushroom foraging expert.

Wild mushrooms on sourdough toast, on a plate

Adding a touch of yeast extract helps that umami flavour shine through, as we've done in this wild mushrooms on toast recipe. Clean them gently with a pastry brush to remove any dirt, but try to avoid washing them as this can make them soggy.

Check out our mushroom recipe collection.
 

Pears 

Pear illustration

In a year where the summer is unsually hot, you may worry
 that pear crops might be adversely affected, but according to Kent fruit farmers Perry Court Farm, it's quite the opposite. ‘No frost damage in the spring means a good crop, a wet spring helps the initial growth, and a heatwave is good to bring them up to ripeness.’ That means it’s a good year for British pears.

Cheese and pickled pear salad on a glass plate

Like apples, different varieties will be at their best at different times in the season. In November, Perry Court Farm recommends looking for Doyenne du Comice, Concorde and Conference pears. This sweet, sharp and herby pickled pear salad will complement a cheeseboard as it cuts through the richness.

Get more inspiration with our pear recipe collection.
 

Garden tasks for November

  • Plant rhubarb crowns in soil enriched with well-rotted compost or manure
  • Plant new fruit trees, bushes and raspberry canes – it’s the ideal time of year to give them a good start
  • Sow broad beans and plant garlic, as they grow best in spring if started off in autumn or winter
  • Bring pots of herbs into a porch or cool greenhouse where you can keep picking them
  • Collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould, which can be used as a potting ingredient or to condition soil

For more seasonal gardening tips, see Gardeners’ World.
 

Check out more seasonal recipes

Top 10 ways with red cabbage
Top 10 ways with parsnips
Stir-up Sunday recipe ideas
What to do with root vegetables
Autumn recipes
Autumn storecupboard essentials

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with in November? Leave a comment below...

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