A Forced to be Reckoned With...

The Winter months can often see less UK produce on our plates, but it is also a time to savour this unique British product – Forced Rhubarb.

After all these years, growers still rely on tried and tested growing methods, which fundamentally means it is still grown in complete darkness and picked by candlelight. This basically stops its natural photosynthesis process and means the rhubarb is a beautiful  pink colour and also the glucose remains in the stems, which means it is sweeter and requires no added sugar when cooking.

It is grown in the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, which has a Protected Designation of Origin, along with items such as Jersey Royals, Champagne  and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies for example.




Eat Your Greens … and Your Purples!

OK, it’s cold and a bit gloomy on some days this month, but still plenty of very healthy and tasty veg around at this time of year: -


On the cabbages front: UK-grown Savoy Cabbage and January King (green & purple leaves) are delicious, along with Spring Greens. Although now imported, Hispee/Pointed Cabbage tends to stay greener when cooked and greener still is Cavolonero. On top of these, you still have Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, Chinese Cabbage/Leaf, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Rapini (Cime di Rapa), Spinach & Pak Choi.


 For your ‘purples’ – Red Cabbage, January King, UK Purple  Broccoli, Tenderstem, Red Kale, Radicchio, Purple Cauliflowers, Tardivo & Trevise.


The climate is a bit harsher at this time of year, but there is still plenty of British grown produce around including, Green Kale, Forced Rhubarb, Leeks, Swede, Purple Kale,  Ornamental Kale, Parsnips, Piccolo Parsnips, Carrots, Chantenay Carrots, Celeriac, Turnips, Jacket Potatoes, Maris Piper, King Edward, Chippers Choice Potatoes, Red Desiree Potatoes, Agria Potatoes, Rooster Reds, New Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage, Hispee Cabbage,  Cauliflowers, Beetroot,  Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Sprout Tops, Onions,  Peashoots, Watercress, Beansprouts, Edible Flowers & Microherbs. 

Although UK fruit is always limited at this time of year, there are still Bramley Apples, Comice & Conference Pears and  still plenty of British Apples available. 

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (Year of the Tiger) is Tuesday 1st February and plenty of different produce available including, Pak Choi, Bok Choi, Wong Bok (Chinese Leaf), Tenderstem Broccoli, Beansprouts, Chillies, Mooli (Daikon), Babycorn, Garlic, Ginger, Galangal, Lemongrass, Spring Onions, Coriander, Mangetout, Coconut, Shiitake Mushrooms, Enoki Mushrooms, Shimeji Mushrooms, King Oyster (Eryngii) Mushrooms, Maitake Mushrooms, Nashi Pears, Lychees and ‘lucky red’ Pomegranates.


From Elsewhere...

European Blood Oranges are now in season and as each week passes, you should see more and more red flesh inside. It is a good time of year for other citrus fruit, including Clementines, Seville/marmalade Oranges, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Kumquats, Limes and Lemons, including the unwaxed/leafy ones .

Grapes have been consistently good quality from South Africa. Pomegranates have remained really vibrant in colour, as have the Kaki/Persimmon.


There is some great produce arriving from France and Italy currently, including Artichokes, Cime di Rappa, Monk’s Beard, Round Courgettes, Sicilian (Round) Aubergines, Romanesque, Delicata Squash, Jerusalem Artichokes, Grelots, Roscoff Onions and these stunning Crapaudine Beetroots. These are basically French Heirloom beetroots and the oldest variety (over 1000 years old). They are almost carrot-like in shape and have a deep earthy but sweet flavour when cooked.


Roscoff Onions have been increasingly popular and there are some striking looking tomatoes in many different colours, including San Marzano, Yellow Datterino, Blue Raf [below], Pink Marmand and these beautiful green Merinda variety [right].



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