INGREDIENTS

WHAT'S IN SEASON IN DECEMBER?

A GUIDE TO UK SEASONAL PRODUCE
By Carmen | 15 December 2023
Eating seasonally comes with limitations but most importantly a whole host of benefits. Seasonal foods are inherently fresher and more nutritious, delivering much, much more flavour to your dishes. 

December is of course synonymous with the festive season and the start of Winter. The days are short and the Christmas lights shine bright. This time of year we crave hearty meals and warming stews. Leafy greens, cabbages,  brussel sprouts and root vegetables like parsnips are aplenty.

By savouring British fruits and vegetables in their prime, you also nourish your body with the nutrients it craves and is meant to consume at this time of year. As one season ends, another beckons with a new array of tempting delights, making seasonal eating an endless journey of pleasure, variety, and discovery.

Here's a guide to what to eat in December in the UK, according to the natural seasonal produce


WHAT'S IN SEASON: DECEMBER

  • Apples: December is the last month when British apple varieties are still in their prime. You’ll find Gala, Bramley, Spartan and Braeburn, the latter being especially suited for warming crumbles and comforting pies with plenty of spices. 
  • Beetroots: These root vegetables are in season for a large part of the year from July to January and are especially brilliant for winter meals. The robust and versatile nature of beetroots makes them a delightful addition to both sweet and savoury creations. Roast them for a warm and hearty side, toss them in vibrant salads, or blend them into velvety soups to make the most of their peak freshness.
  • Brussel Sprouts, and Cabbages: December is prime season for cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts, sprout tops and cabbages. Bursting with nutty and slightly sweet flavours, they are at their peak until February. Embrace their versatility by roasting them to a delightful crisp, sautéing with savoury herbs, or incorporating them into flavorful stews. Christmas is the time to make them extra special with added fanfare, like tarragon or bacon. 
  • Carrots: Carrots have not one but two seasons - a late spring one and a late Autumn one, but can also be cellared or covered to enable them to be still available through the Winter months. Vibrant and versatile, carrots bring a burst of colour and flavour to various dishes. Whether enjoyed raw as a crisp snack, grated in salads, or cooked through roasting or boiling, Carrot's sweet taste complements a variety of recipes and makes wonderful standalone side dishes too.
  • Celeriac & Celery: The celeriac plant (root and stem) is in peak season from October through February. With a mild celery-like flavour, the versatile vegetable can be cooked in a variety of ways: mash it up, use it in soup, or add it to your roasted vegetable medley. 
  • Chicory: Typically in prime season during the late Autumn and Winter months chicory’s peak season spans from October through March. Chicory is a cool-weather crop, and during these months, the cooler temperatures enhance its flavour and texture. Known for its slight bitterness, chicory adds a distinctive element to salads, but also comes into its own when cooked. Roasting or grilling chicory creates a delicious contrast of crispness and a nuanced bitterness, making it delicious as a savoury side dish, or even a star ingredient in flavorful gratins. 
  • Jerusalem Artichokes: In the cooler months from November to February, Jerusalem artichokes come into their prime, offering a unique flavour and texture. With a renewed appreciation for their earthy, nutty taste, these tubers shine when roasted or grilled, and also make for a great substitute for the usual potato. Perfect for savoury side dishes or as the star of flavorful gratins, stews or even curries, Jerusalem artichokes bring an added level of flavour and interest to your winter meals.
  • Kale: As temperatures drop, kale thrives, with its peak availability from October through March. It's a hearty leafy green that can be used in salads, sautéed as a side dish, or added to smoothies for a nutritional boost.
  • Leeks: Leeks are a Winter staple. Cook them until just tender, as undercooked leeks are tough, and overcooked ones become a tad squidgy. Braising, boiling, or steaming are suitable cooking methods, with braising taking 10 to 30 minutes depending on size. They're perfect for enhancing soups, stews, and accompanying potatoes and cheese in comforting dishes.
  • 11. Parsnips: Resembling slightly bulbous carrots with a pale yellow color, parsnips come into season from November until February. Easy-to-prepare and versatile root vegetables, simply wash, peel, trim, and cut them before enjoying as steam-cooked chunks, mashed or roasted.
  • 12. Pears: Pears continue to be available throughout December. They are typically picked slightly under-ripe and ripen further after picking. You may want to store them at room temperature to accelerate ripening before using them. Eat them fresh, poached, or baked into a cake. 
  • 13. Potatoes: While new potatoes have their prime season in spring and early summer, maincrop potatoes are harvested from late summer and stored for extended use through the autumn and into winter. Popular varieties like Desiree and King Edward shine in diverse applications. Endlessly versatile they make the perfect addition to soups this time of year, as well as simply roasted, as thick-cut chips, or creamy mash. 
  • 15. Swede: A quintessential winter vegetable, is at its best from September to February. With a subtle sweet and earthy flavour, swede can be mashed with butter and nutmeg, used in hearty stews or roasted until slightly crispy.
By embracing the natural seasonal produce available in the UK in December, you can enjoy the freshest, most flavourful ingredients while supporting local UK farmers and making a more sustainable choice too. Sounds pretty good, right?

OUR BEST SEASONAL RECIPES FOR DECEMBER

This Winter, celebrate the produce of December by relishing the delicious, wholesome offerings provided at this time of year. Check out these flavourful seasonal recipes - promise you won't miss skipping your usual tomato shop!

APPLE TARTE TATIN WITH MISO CARAMEL

Cooked apples come together wonderfully in this French classic:  Apple Tart Tatin. The added miso to the caramel brings a delicious salty umami balance to the tart that goes wonderfully with the apple's sweetness. It's a delightful dessert served slightly warm with a generous dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream. 

BEEF BOURGUIGNON WITH BARLEY MISO

Indulge in the comforting embrace of Boeuf Bourguignon, a revered French classic intertwined with the flavours of the season. The traditional dish is infused with the richness of the earthy essence of seasonal carrots, enhancing its warmth and depth. Paired with pearl barley, this dish pays homage to tradition while celebrating the bounty of the season.

POTATO GRATIN DAUPHINOIS WITH WALNUTS

This oven-baked French potato dish features delicate layers of thinly sliced potatoes, generously infused with cream, and in this case, walnuts too. The beauty of the Gratin Dauphinois certainly lies somewhere in its simplicity and its unwavering ability to delight absolutely everyone, making it a brilliant comforting dish to share among many. 

KALE, CLEMENTINE & STILTON SALAD

Harnessing the power of seasonal ingredients brimming with vitamins, this vibrant salad is a perfect addition to your Winter fare. Balancing health and taste, it proves particularly appealing post-festivities when lighter, swiftly prepared meals are the order of the day.

MARMALADE & CARAWAY CARROTS

Elevate your carrot game this Winter with our marmalade-glazed caraway carrots – a delightful twist on the classic orange-carrot combo. Sweet, tart marmalade and a hint of caraway seeds turn these seasonal gems into the main attraction, stealing the spotlight at your dinner table. It's not your average side dish; it's a flavour-packed showstopper that'll have you reaching for seconds. 

THAI CHICKEN MASSAMAN CURRY WITH JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE

Massaman Curry is a comforting Thai curry with a mellow heat and a rich fragrant sauce. Traditionally featuring potatoes we've opted here for jerusalem Artichokes for their nutty and savory depth, eagerly absorbing the luscious sauce. 

CARROT CAKE WITH CARDAMOM & LABNEH FROSTING

On a cold Winter day, there's simply nothing more delightful than snuggling up with a piping hot cup of tea and a slice of cake. In this twist on the traditional carrot cake, I've added fragrant cardamom and to add an intriguing Middle Eastern touch to the customary cream cheese or buttercream frosting, I've chosen to grace it with sweetened labneh. 

SAGE BROWN BUTTER ROAST POTATOES

Our obsession with roast potatoes reaches new heights as we marry the classic brown butter and sage duo. Experience the nutty richness that elevates these golden beauties to exquisite perfection. But wait, there's a twist! We've offset the opulence with a burst of citrusy freshness from orange zest, creating the perfect harmony for your Christmas feast. Because when it comes to potatoes, we don't settle for anything less than perfection.

SAUTÉED CABBAGE & SPROUT TOPS WITH TARRAGON BUTTER

Embrace the winter season's bounty with sautéed sprout tops and cabbage, complemented by the crunch of crisp bacon and toasted walnuts. A clove and tarragon butter takes this controversial vegetable to a whole new level of deliciousness. Pair it effortlessly with your preferred roasted meat for a seasonal feast.

FLORENTINE BISCUITS WITH WALNUT, ALMOND & ORANGE OR PECAN, HAZELNUT & CRANBERRY

Florentine biscuits can use almost any nuts and dried fruits available this time of year. Personally, the Walnut, Almond, Orange Florentines have secured the coveted title of my favorite version, closely trailed by the allure of Pecan, Hazelnut & Cranberries. 

PAV BHAJI WITH WINTER VEGETABLES

Elevate your Winter vegetable and Christmas leftovers with our Pav Bhaji recipe. Leftover veggies blend with tomatoes, and aromatic spices, creating a flavourful curry with a hint of holiday spirit. Top it off with a generous slab of butter and serve with freshly toasted buns that turn leftovers into an easy and delicious meal.
Eating seasonally is a delightful way to harmonise with nature's rhythms, relishing the diverse and delectable offerings of each season. It is not only a delicious way to enjoy fresh, locally sourced food, but it's also an environmentally friendly choice too. And really, December has some pretty brilliant produce to cook with. What's not to love?

Let us know what your favourite Winter recipes are in the comment section below. We'd love to hear them!

Comment

There is no comment on this post. Be the first one.

Leave a comment