January is here, and with it, a diverse bunch of delicious fruit and veg is coming out of the ground and ripening on trees. You might think of winter as a time when nothing grows, but actually, it’s the time to celebrate hearty root vegetables, dark green winter leaves, crisp apples and zesty citrus. Here’s our pick of the best in season.
Jerusalem artichokes are mildly sweet, nutty, earthy, and the perfect winter root. Try roasting them with rosemary and hazelnuts (pictured), mashing them or turning them into a silky, rich soup. This Jerusalem artichoke soup recipe is a firm Farmdrop favourite, as is this twist on the classic fish pie topped with a mixture of mashed Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes. Farmdrop’s Jerusalem artichokes are grown by Fred over at Home Farm Highgrove. He grows over 100 different organic crops, particularly roots, brassicas and squashes. He runs a truly incredible operation, all the more impressive given he operates solo for most of the year!
Gorgeous kale – along with lots of other winter greens – is bang in season now. Kale is the perfect accompaniment to a family Sunday roast, tossed through pasta (try this lazy, healthy one-pot pasta recipe), or blanched and blitzed into pesto. Farmdrop’s kale is grown by Purton House Organics, headed up by Rowie Meers who is dedicated to organic, small-scale farming. Here she is harvesting her field of winter leaves, ready to be boxed up and sent out.
Slow-roasted, this humble root vegetable becomes sweet and complex, and a great potato-alternative for your Sunday roast. Alternatively, celeriac works wonderfully mashed (try this dairy-free celeriac mash recipe) or paired with apple and blitzed into soup. Farmdrop’s organic celeriac hails from Westmill Farm in Wiltshire. These guys grow lots of different crops. You can expect more celeriac from them, as well as squashes, parsnips, carrots, cabbages, beetroot and swede throughout the winter season.
Did you know the UK is home to hundreds of varieties of apples? Well, autumn and winter is the time to eat them. From Braeburn to Gala, Russet to Jazz, Baretilt Farm is home to several different types, all grown on Chris Levett’s 100 acres in Kent.
Three cornered garlic
There’s no need to wait until spring for your next batch of foraged pesto. Three cornered garlic, the long grass-like stems pictured, is autumn and winter’s answer to the ever-popular wild garlic. Sometimes known as wild leeks, these are milder than wild garlic, juicy and sweet and our preferred choice for throwing into salads, a Cheddar cheese sandwich or a good omelette. You can also use them instead of chives or spring onions in mash. Thanks to the Forager for our supply of three cornered garlic direct from Kent.
It’s hard to resist the appeal of these jewel-coloured stalks. Try rainbow chard in lieu of potatoes in a chard gratin, include them in a lasagne or frittata, or cook them up simply with lemon and garlic.
Seasonal food is local food and while the majority of Farmdrop’s produce is grown in the UK, we also want to support the farmers growing fruit that we can’t grow here. We believe it’s better to get our clementines and oranges from Spain or Italy than it is from much further afield, like Africa, America or Australia. Right now, Europe’s lovely leafy clementines taste at their best. Try them straight up or in this stunning Hasselback Parsnip recipe.
Potatoes needn’t be boring. There are so many different varieties, each offering something different. From Maris Piper’s (perfect for roasties) and King Edwards to lesser-known varieties, such as good all-rounder Milva or sweet, earthy Athlete.