June marks the true start of summer, bringing with it plenty of fresh seasonal fruit and veg to enjoy. Bright crisp radishes and salad leaves add punchy flavour to salads and sides, while broccoli is a reliable addition to any easy summer dinner. The abundance of fresh summer fruit means desserts require minimal effort – big bowls of strawberries are all you need for a sweet way to finish a meal.
These iconic berries are at their best from now until September. Store them unwashed in the fridge but bring to room temperature before eating to maximise their sweet flavour. If you can resist just eating them drizzled with cream, try them barbecued on skewers, piled on top of mini cheesecakes or added to these no-cook trifles. If you've bought too many to eat at once, follow our step-by-step strawberry jam recipe – perfect for dolloping onto scones.
The Cornish potato season runs from late June to August, and begins as Jersey Royals finish. Cornwall's unique warmer climate means farmers can plant and harvest potatoes much earlier than the rest of the UK mainland. Most of the nutrients are found in the thin skin, so leave them on and make these baked Cornish potatoes with melted Brie and pickles – an early summer treat.
Delicate, jewel-like redcurrants grow in small bunches and have a sweet, tart flavour that mellows when cooked. They work well in jams, jellies or served with lamb. For a classic summer showstopper, this currant and cassis jelly with berries is definitely a dessert for grown-ups. Pretty stems of redcurrants add an elegant finishing touch to stylish desserts and balance out rich flavours – try scattering over a rum baba bundt or maple and hazelnut semifreddo.
Their crisp texture, vibrant colour and peppery flavour makes radishes a popular addition to salads. Choose radishes that feel firm and smooth. Once opened, store wrapped in kitchen paper in the fridge. To refresh radishes that have become soft, soak in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours. Roast radishes with thyme and dunk in a blue cheese dip, make it into a tasty side salsa or slice thinly to add peppery crunch to a trout, orange and pomegranate salad.
Fresh salad leaves are a quick, easy and delicious way to be healthy throughout summer. From peppery watercress and rocket to buttery lettuces and bitter radicchio, salads can be endlessly versatile depending on your favourite leaves – read our full guide to salad leaves to learn how best to use each variety. Look for fresh, bright leaves and avoid any that are wilted or have brown edges. Add extra flavour with bold vinaigrettes or whizz into soups and smoothies. Salad leaves are not only enjoyed raw – try this braised lettuce with crème fraîche and bacon for a heartier option.
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