October’s produce captures the essence of Autumn. Crops are waking up to frost and soaking up the last of the sunshine during the day.
It is one of the most colourful harvest months in the calendar with bright beets, a rainbow variety of cauliflowers and an abundance of apples.
If you’re ready for cosy cooking, we’ve got everything you’ll need to get started on stews, pies and crumbles. Here’s what to keep an eye out for was the month rolls on…
Every year the arrival of an array of brightly coloured beetroots signals the start of Autumn here in the UK. They come towards the end of beetroot season (usually early October) and can be found in shades like deep pink, candy-coloured Chioggia with its magenta and white stripes, and deep golden yellow.
When is Beetroot in season? From mid-summer up until the end of October.
How to cook Beetroot? Why not try our recipe for Beetroot, Whipped Goats Cheese & Mint Dip? Beetroot can also be used like carrots or courgettes in cakes, simply grate them raw and fold them through your cake batter or make the most of the colour in these varieties and slice them super thin to eat raw in a salad.
This iron-rich leafy green is originally from Italy and is sometimes called Black Kale due to its deep green hue. Packed full of nutrients, its leaves are more tender than traditional kale which makes it a fantastic alternative to add to all of your autumn dishes.
When is Cavolo Nero in season? This is a hardy cold-weather green and stays in season all the way from October to the early spring.
How to cook Cavolo Nero? Cavolo Nero is exceptional sliced thin and stirred into a soup or stew in the last few minutes of cooking. You can also braise it or just simply steam and serve with a little melted butter as a side dish to your Sunday roast.
As the large root of the celery plant, celeriac has an incredibly complex flavour with a slight celery taste. It’s often overlooked but is such a great ingredient for cook’s to use in the kitchen. It develops a deeper, more intense taste, the later in the season that it’s harvested.
When is Celeriac in season? Celeriac season runs from late September to early April.
How to cook Celeriac? Celeriac is such a versatile root vegetable. You can use a mandoline to cut it paper-thin and layer it with cream and garlic for a gratin or eat raw in a salad. You can steam and mash it for an alternative option to a potato but to really make it shine, roast it whole covered with spices and herbs so the outside develops a delicious crust.
Not anything like the globe artichokes that we see all summer, Jerusalem Artichokes are a root vegetable and are actually a variety of sunflower and are sometimes called sunchokes. Small in size, they pack a huge amount of flavour in their crunchy dense flesh.
When are Jerusalem Artichokes in season? They’re ready to harvest from the end of September to early March.
How to cook Jerusalem Artichokes? Think of them like a potato and you’ll find so many ways to use them in your kitchen. Peel and mash them into a puree to serve with chicken or fish or roast them until they’re crisp with lots of olive oil and garlic.
One of the hardiest and nutritiously dense leafy greens, Kale thrives in cooler weather. You’ll find it in multiple varieties like Curly Green Kale, Red Kale and Sea Kale. An easy crop to harvest, smaller tender leaves start to sprout towards the end of summer.
When is Kale in season? Kale is in season from September all the way through until April making it one of the best leafy greens for the winter months.
How to cook Kale? You can eat kale raw and treat it like a salad leaf in your dishes or toss it in some olive oil and roast it on high heat for crunch kale crisps. To change up your midweek pasta, why not try Kale Pesto instead.
Leeks are from the same allium family as onions and garlic. A really versatile vegetable, you can use the entire vegetable in the base of a stock or just the more commonly used tender white part. As they grow dirt gets trapped in the many layers of the plant so make sure to wash them thoroughly before adding them to your dish.
When are Leeks in season? They are in season from early autumn until the end of winter.
How to cook Leeks? You can use leeks as you would onions and saute them alongside carrots and celery as the base of a stew. When slow-cooked, leeks develop a sweet flavour and soft texture. Cooking them like this makes them perfect for dishes like these Leek and Kale Pizzettes.
A quintessential autumn root vegetable that is worthy of more time on your table (other than Christmas). Early in the season they start small and throughout the end of the year develop in both size and sweetness. They have a delicate flavour and are more complex than their cousin the carrot.
When are Parsnips in season? The Parsnip harvest begins from the end of September to early October and carries on until early spring.
How to cook Parsnips? When slowly roasted, Parsnips caramelise beautifully making them a great side dish to a Sunday roast. Peel their rough skin and simmer them in stock to make a classic parsnip soup or boil them with potatoes and carrots for a more interesting mash.
Arriving around the same time as apples, pears are full of delicate fragrant flavour. They come in a number of varieties and can be used across both sweet and savoury dishes. From Conference to Concorde, search for ripe pears that have a sweet scent and are tender to the touch.
When are Pears in season? From October to March you’ll find UK pears in season.
How to cook Pears? When they’re ripe, Pears are best to simply snack on but also pair beautifully with chocolate and warm autumn spices. Try this Spiced Porridge with Maple-Glazed Pears. If your pears aren’t quite ripe yet, try poaching them or turning them into a chutney.
The true star of October produce is, of course, Pumpkins. They arrive at Farmdrop in all shapes and sizes. From the small patty-pan and the tiny munchkin pumpkins to the huge harlequin squash and red uchiki. While some might see them as best for carving, once you start cooking with them you’ll see why they’re good for so much more than that.
When are Pumpkins in season? Pumpkin seedlings are planted in the early summer and are ready to harvest by late September-early October and carry on until the cold winter weather of December.
How to cook Pumpkins? Most pumpkins have high fructose in their flesh and develop a deep sweet flavour when cooked. Roughly chop and roast them in some herbs and honey to have as a simple side dish or base for a soup. Steam and mash them to fold through a cake batter with some spices for a true taste of the season. Or for something different, bake them whole.
The most regal of Autumn fruit is the quince. Their firm hard flesh makes them almost impossible to eat raw but when cooked they develop a sweet fragrant flavour. Packed full of pectin, they make a great base for savoury jellies and sweet jams.
When is Quince in season? Quince season in the UK starts in October and runs through to December.
How to cook Quince? Slow-cooking is the way to go when cooking quince. Slice it thin and add into an apple crumble or slow cook with pork for a sweet-but-savoury side dish to your dinner or make a chutney for your next cheese board.