Make the most of autumn with Miriam's tips on what to buy, cook and eat in October. Discover recipes using seasonal veg, fruit and nuts, plus a list of foodie events.
Autumn is also a season of contrasting temperatures – not only outside, but also in our favourite dishes; think steaming bowls of soup served with wedges of cheese on toast, chilled butter on jacket potatoes or a scoop of vanilla ice cream under a dense square of hot sticky toffee pudding.
As well as these autumnal classics, there are plenty of lesser-known fruits and vegetables still in season at this time of year, such as quince and kohlrabi. See below for more seasonal inspiration.
Vegetables in season in October
You can find a variety of plants under the umbrella term 'kale', from the long and undulating blue-green leaves of cavolo nero to the scrunchy, scouring-pad-like curly kale. For a quirky option, try the hybrid kalettes – sadly not a vegan pop band, but a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts.
Roasted kale recipe
- Serves 4-6
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Wash 150-200g kale and tear off any woody stems. Scrunch (or massage) the leaves in your hands as if to squeeze out every last drop of water from a kitchen sponge – this makes the kale far less tough. Rip any larger leaves into small pieces.
- Put the kale leaves on a baking tray and drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil. Toss, then season well.
- Cook until the ends are shatteringly crisp and starting to char.
- Serve your roasted kale over something saucy like soft polenta or a creamy coconut curry, or as an alternative to crisps while watching a film.
Find more kale recipes.
Horseradish Horseradish root can look a bit odd, like a large, slightly darker and thinner parsnip. You don’t need much for a decent batch of horseradish sauce, but the fresh stuff doesn’t keep, so grate all of it and freeze what you don’t immediately use. It’s eye-stinging work, so open the windows before you start – or, better still, use a food processor to finely chop the horseradish, adding a splash of water to help the blade go round.
Homemade horseradish sauce recipe
- Serves 4-6
- Mix 1 tbsp coarsely grated horseradish root with 4 tbsp double cream and 4 tbsp crème fraîche.
- Add 2 tsp sherry vinegar and season to taste.
- To get the best flavour and texture, chill the sauce in the fridge overnight before serving.
Tip: Leftover horseradish sauce is good in mashed potato, with smoked salmon or as a dip for pizza crusts. Freshly grated horseradish discolours quickly, so mix it into the sauce ingredients as soon as you can. If using in salads, toss the horseradish in a little vinegar first to keep it bright.
Light green, with tendril-like branches, kohlrabi looks somewhat alien-like. Taste-wise, it’s a cross between broccoli and radish. Serving it raw allows the crisp texture to shine through, but it does also roast well. The leaves are edible, too – cook as you would spinach or cabbage. The only parts of the kohlrabi I discard are the tough outer skin and the shoots.
Kohlrabi & apple salad recipe
- Serves 4
- Mix 1 peeled and finely sliced kohlrabi with 1 cored and finely sliced green apple. Spread out on a serving plate.
- Pour over the juice of 1 lemon and toss together.
- Scatter over 50g toasted hazelnuts, 40-50g finely sliced hard goat's cheese (or parmesan shavings) and 1 tbsp cress.
- Season well and drizzle with 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Tip: Look for smaller kohlrabi that feel heavy for their size.
See our recipes and information for other vegetables in season:
Fruit in season in October
A popular use for quince is as a sweet, sharp jelly served with hard cheeses (known as quince paste, quince cheese or membrillo). I hope one day I'll be more organised and make batches every year or manage to stuff the freezer with pre-baked chunks, but it’s such a short season that I often miss the boat. See our recipes for quince & rosewater jelly and quince paste to find out how to make your own quince paste. Alternatively, baking quince is an easy way to try this fruit.
Baked quince recipe
- Serves 4-6
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Slice 2 large quinces (or 1 quince and 1 Bramley apple). Lay the slices in a buttered ovenproof dish and pour over 100ml water, 1 tsp ground cardamom and 50g demerara sugar.
- Bake for 45 mins, or until tender, stirring occasionally to ensure the fruit cooks evenly.
- Add ½ tsp rosewater, then top with puff pastry or a crumble topping and bake for a further 25-30 mins.
Find more quince recipes.
See our recipes for other fruit in season:
Nuts in season in October
Seasonal food events in October 2018
October Plenty will be held on Sunday 21 October at Borough Market.
Apple days: The National Trust is hosting a mixture of apple days and festivals this month – here are just a few of the upcoming events:
- Devon: Apple Festival in Killerton, 13-14 October; Celebrating the Harvest at Arlington Court, 20-21 October
- Gloucestershire: Apple Weekend at Westbury Court Garden, 13-14 October
- Hampshire: Harvest Time at Mottisfont, 1-31 October
- Lincolnshire: Apple Day at Woolsthorpe Manor, 14 Oct
- Yorkshire: Apple Celebration Week at Beningbrough Hall, 7-14 October (closed Monday)
See our seasonal calendar for more inspiration.
Check out more autumnal recipes...
What are your favourite ingredients to cook with in October? Leave a comment below...