June is when berry season is in full swing and pops of colour adorn hedgerows and dessert bowls. Then there’s wild and often unsung foraged greens, ripe for the picking and bursting with fresh-as-you-can-get flavour. Now’s the time to get berry-stained lips and nettles in your gnudi. Here’s our guide to which fruit and vegetables are in season and what’s best to eat in June.
What fruit is in season in Britain in June?
June sees in summer and a crop of beautiful berries with gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries along with outdoor rhubarb and elderflower.
The staple of every British summer. Why not get to know some sweet and succulent varieties you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else? Brogdale Fine Fruits grow alpine strawberry varieties Mara Des Bois, Gariguette and Mariguette which taste as deliciously romantic as they sound and are rarely grown in the UK. Or sample Malling Centenary, Murano and Elizabeth varieties – the result of over 70 years of experience at the family-run Newlands Farm in Kent. Shake up the usual strawberries and cream with these surprising updates.
Tuck into Brogdale Fine Fruits’ jewel-like multicoloured heritage mix of raspberries. Image Natale Towell.
Primrose yellow or amber-coloured raspberries anyone? Don’t stop at the usual crimson. Sharp and sweet, elegant and fragrant, raspberries of all colours are perfect folded into greek yoghurt and topped with coconut flakes for a fresh and fruity breakfast. Or try them stirred into double cream with crunchy meringue for a quick and light dessert. Just when you thought summer couldn’t get any better.
Translucent, pale-lime in colour and bulbous in shape, gooseberries hang from the bush in rows like exotic earrings. These berries taste a little sour and deepen in sweetness with age. Embrace their tart tones and get creative with the classic British berry by trying them in both sweet and savoury dishes such as chutneys and drinks. Pair with oily fish (as a change from rhubarb), pork or lamb to really let their sourness shine as it confidently cuts through the fat.
Ripe for the picking: British tomatoes are are their best from June to August. Image: Natale Towell.
There’s nothing like a British tomato picked off the vine, hot from the summer sun. June is when homegrown tomatoes give their continental counterparts a run for their money when it comes to quality and sun-soaked flavour.
Chomp on palm-sized traffic light-coloured tomatoes whole like an apple or pop ripe and juicy cherry and plum tommys like a pick ‘n mix. Make a Panzanella to challenge a Tuscan’s where only tomatoes at the height of their season that are full of flavoursome juice will do.
What vegetables are in season in June?
Multicoloured tomatoes (technically a fruit) come into their own alongside artichokes, chard, fresh garlic and the start of samphire.
Look down on your next shingle beach walk and you might spot sea kale.
Sea kale is a crisp, rare and wild native coastal vegetable which grows on the edge of shingle beaches. Also known as winter asparagus, its flower heads look a little like purple-sprouting broccoli and its leaves are frilly like cabbage. Sweet and rich, chop it into inch-long pieces and steam as you would asparagus. Or finely chop the stems and use sparingly in salads. Think ‘what grows together, goes together’. Sea kale compliments most fish, shellfish and seafood due to its slight sweetness and is a beautiful expression of our edible coast.
Fresh, wet or green garlic
What…garlic without its flaky, papery skin? Say hello to fresh garlic.
Unless you grow your own, chances are you probably won’t have come across the beauty that is fresh garlic – also known as wet garlic or green garlic. The difference between fresh garlic and the usual flaky garlic bulb is that fresh garlic has been picked young, with its bulb and green shoot intact and it has not been dried. The immature fresh bulb is smaller than the familiar ones that are dried and available all year.
The flavour is delicate, sweet and nutty and is the perfect partner for in-season jersey royal potatoes, asparagus and peas. Slice the green stalk and use like a leek or slice the bulb thinly and add to salads. Use the bulb whole to inject a subtle garlic flavour into risotto or soup.
Try courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta and fried for an easy-breezy Italian-inspired summer nibble. Image: Natale Towell.
These are the bright yellow flower of the courgette plant. Try stuffed with ricotta and dipped in a batter before frying briefly. Stir through risottos for an added pop of colour and intrigue and look for those with a courgette attached as a sign of youth. Courgette flowers don’t like to hang around, so ideally eat them on the same day you get them or store in a sealed tupperware in the crisper section of the fridge and use within 2-3 days.
Wild nettle tips
Fancy a forage? Use protective gloves and pick only the top, young leaves of the nettle plant.
They may sound like the opposite of edible thanks to many a stung ankle in childhood, but wild nettle leaves are highly nutritious and surprisingly delicious. Broaden your repertoire of go-to greens with these wild leaves that have a wonderfully delicate, herbal flavour.
Wilt or bash them to disarm their protective stings. Whiz into a pesto or soup, chop into pillowy gnudi dumplings oozing with ricotta or heat to a near boil, simmer for 15 minutes and drain for a refreshing tea. And definitely, definitely eat them when they encase a slice of award-winning Cornish Yarg cheese.
Discover the latest bang-in-season British fruit and vegetables at farmdrop.com.
Need a little seasonal culinary inspo? Check out our recipes for your new go-to summer dishes.
Read on to find out why eating locally and seasonally is better for you and the planet.