What's in season - July

What's in season: July

by Sally Abé 4 July 2018

Summer is in full swing, and with it comes a plethora of delightful British ingredients to sink your teeth into. Sally Abé gives us a run-down of the best July produce.

After a five-year stint in the kitchen at two Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, Sally is now head chef at The Harwood Arms in London.

When Sally came to London to cook as part of her culinary arts degree, she never went back to college in Sheffield.

Sally began her career at the Savoy Grill, before moving on to a two year stint at Gordon Ramsay's Claridges restaurant. After this, she spent five years at two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury as sous chef.

Sally is now the head chef at the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms in London, where she makes the most of Britain's fantastic game meat and seasonal produce.

We are approaching the height of the summer months in the UK and produce is at its most abundant. Amongst the masses of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that we all know and love are other British varieties vying for the limelight that are often overlooked, so here are some of our favourites that are in season right now:

Bilberries are a very small, deep purple berry, juicier than a blueberry and sharper than a blackcurrant, bilberry jam was given to pilots in the second world war as they were believed to improve night vision!

Meanwhile, gooseberries are having something of a revival, but are still not regularly found in supermarkets. There are two types of gooseberry – the red fruit, which is sweet and ready to eat, and the green variety, which is much more sour and best for jams and pickles.

Related to the gooseberry, the redcurrant is very small, tart, yet with a certain sweetness, and can make a refreshing alternative to the more well-known berries in any summer dessert. You may be familiar with the overly sweet redcurrant jelly sometimes served with game but why not try making your own; it will taste a million miles better.

We also have an abundance of vegetables available throughout the summer months here in the UK. Salad ingredients such as lettuce, radish and courgette are all at their best right now.

New season beetroots have begun again this month. Look for small, firm bulbs in a variety of colours to spice up your summer salads. Simon Hulstone uses golden beetroot in his simple salad recipe, or for something a little more challenging try Nigel Mendham’s Mustard panna cotta with heritage beetroot and goat’s cheese crumble.

Samphire is something you may not have come across in stores but has been growing in popularity on restaurant menus in recent years. The season is very short, July–August if you’re lucky, but it is worth hunting some of this wild crop down for it’s fresh, salty flavour that goes hand in hand with fish, eggs and of course, salt marsh lamb. Found growing wild on the coasts of the UK it is plentiful at this time of year and is sometimes called glasswort.

The breeding season of the prestigious Dover sole has now come to an end, which means the fish will once again become readily available in fishmongers. Dover Sole is highly regarded as one of the most superior fish caught in UK waters, normally the English Channel. Take a look at our sole collection for recipe inspiration.

Wild rabbit is at its best from July–December and the flavour is a far cry from the farmed version, as well as being much more animal welfare friendly. Expect darker meat packed full of gamey flavour, so make the most of it with a recipe such as Phil Howard’s, where he serves legs of rabbit with pea shoots and tarragon for a light summer meal. Most people think of rabbit as dry and difficult to cook but given time and care it can be a real treat. Check out our how to cook rabbit guide for more advice.