June is an abundant month, with a basket full of many different vegetables, fruits, fish and meat is available. It is a month where the slow cooker is abandoned and a lighter way of cooking is the only way to prepare our meals. Steaming, sauteing and lightly frying and of course eating raw are ways we define our cooking and eating our meals.
June is when the British berries really come into force. We are now accustomed to seeing berries all year round, however, this hasn’t taken away the lust for homegrown fruit during the summer months.
The taste of in-season berries is a taste like no other. We all know foods eaten in season are the tastiest foods we can hope to eat, but the humble berry is taken to a whole new level during the summer months. It is mouth-watering, juicy, sweet and tart. Bumper crops can be harvested to last over the winter period by preservation in jellies, jams and stored in the freezer for smoothies.
One berry which stands out the most during the summer months though is the strawberry. The classic British strawberry gracing many an afternoon tea table, a BBQ spread and most famously served with cream during Wimbledon.
There is a huge difference in texture and taste when buying local, seasonal strawberries. Many punnets which are imported from afar, especially during the cooler seasons, are lacking in taste and are also hard. This is because strawberries do not ripen once they are picked. However, they do spoil quickly once picked.
The strawberry is one food which is recommended to buy organic. It usually features on the Dirty Dozen list by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Popular ways to enjoy strawberries are with cream added to salads alongside goats cheese and balsamic vinegar and blitzed into smoothies. Although, perhaps the best way to consume them is straight from the punnet when you’re at a PYO farm.
You can pick your own strawberries at Oxford Farm Shop, a few miles outside of Berwick, and also Border Berries, near Kelso, which reopens on the 29th June. Check for updates on how their berries are doing and for opening times.
Strawberries are heart-shaped which could highlight the fact that they are beneficial to heart health.
During the Roman Times, strawberries were used more as an ornamental fruit, rather than for consumption. Strawberries were even used to whiten teeth!
Strawberries are a good source of potassium and manganese and 1 serving of 8 berries has more vitamin C than an orange.
The strawberry is a member of the rose family.
Strawberries with soured cream were given to newlyweds for breakfast and believed to be an aphrodisiac.
Strawberry leaves can be used to make tea.
There are around 30 varieties of strawberries grown in the UK.
The bright red colour of strawberries is a result of its high content of anthocyanidins (pigments) which can reduce inflammation and heart disease.
To protect the berries from mud, straw was spread underneath the emerging berries hence why they are known as strawberries.
About 34,000kg of strawberries will be eaten at Wimbledon.
Other Foods in Season
Now we’re in June, the abundant crops of summer are available. Expect thirst-quenching fruits and vegetables to be on the table.
Other fantastic foods to enjoy in June include:
- runner beans
- elderflower to make some fantastic infusions for summer BBQs.
- the last of British asparagus