What's in season in October

October brings Halloween, the changing of the clocks and plenty of seasonal fruit and veg. Leafy kale and leeks can be added to healthy green soups and stews, while bright butternut squash adds colour to easy traybakes. Once you’ve carved your Halloween pumpkin try cooking with it too – roast in generous wedges or bake into sweet pumpkin pie. British apples and pears are also in season throughout October, so indulge a sweet tooth with crumbles and cakes galore.

  1. Butternut squash

    Butternut squash is a member of the gourd family, along with pumpkins, melon and cucumber. It has a sweet, nutty taste and vibrant orange flesh. Look for squash that feel heavy for their size, with matte skin and a uniform beige-orange colouring. If stored in a cool, dry place, whole squash should keep for up to three months. Use in an autumnal spiced squash and halloumi salad, roast in a veggie sausage and squash traybake or embrace its natural sweetness in squash and cinnamon muffins.

  2. Apples

    Apples are one of the UK's favourite fruits and with more than 7,000 varieties we are truly spoilt for choice. Whether you love a Braeburn, Golden Delicious, or a Pink Lady, crisp apples are delicious when baked into pies, topped with crumble, or coated in toffee. Keep apples in the fridge or a cool dark spot in a perforated bag. Try something savoury with a creamy parsnip and apple soup with apple crisps for an extra finishing touch. For dessert, pair with melting marzipan in a sweet apple and marzipan torte or go classic with a slow cooked apple crumble – irresistible served with custard.

  3. Kale

    This intensely flavoured member of the cabbage family has been cultivated for over 2,000 years and has long been popular in colder regions, thanks to its excellent resistance to frost. It's at its best between September and February. Fresh kale should be a vivid green colour with crisp, unwilted leaves. Try a delicious veggie lasagne with kale, mushroom and goat’s cheese or use to top mini kale, gouda and chilli pizzas. For a healthy snack, roast the leaves for 30 mins for crunchy kale crisps.

  4. Pumpkin

    Belonging to the squash family, the firm, sweet flesh of pumpkin works well in both savoury and sweet recipes such as pies, bakes and soups. Bring this twice-baked pumpkin to the table whole for an impressive Halloween dinner, be party ready with a pumpkin punch or slice your veg and roast into wedges with feta and thyme. To bake with pumpkin, try an all-American pumpkin and pecan pie or a spooky spiced pumpkin toffee apple cake for an irresistible showstopper dessert.

  5. Leeks

    Leeks are from the allium family like onions and garlic, but have a much sweeter, milder flavour. According to legend, seventh-century Welsh soldiers wore leeks in their hats to distinguish them from the enemy army. Ever since, the allium has been a Welsh national symbol. Choose leeks with bright green tops and trim the root and leaf tops before rinsing well to remove grit and soil. Sweet leeks are the hero of this easy, creamy one-pot leek linguine for a simple midweek meal. Give leeks a Spanish spin by griddling them whole for charred leeks served with a punchy romesco sauce.

  6. Pears

    Sweet and juicy, pears are wonderfully versatile – they're delicious eaten raw, poached or roasted, and can be used in an array of sweet and savoury dishes. Choose firm fruits with unblemished skins; don't be put off by any brown speckling, as this is normal. Make sticky pear breakfast buns for a weekend treat, or bake into a rich chocolate and pear upside-down cake. To give pears a savoury spin, try this autumnal pear and broccoli soup.