July is a celebratory month with the weather hotting up and the holiday season getting into full swing. Much of the produce available can be prepared and served very simply – especially when freshly picked. This month used to be called Quintilis – the Roman word for “fifth” as it was the fifth month of the Roman year but was later changed to July by Julius Caesar. It’s a full on month in UK gardens, when much of our soft fruit is in season and wild flowers are putting on a great display. Kitchen gardeners are rewarded for all their hard work with much to harvest!
Whether you grow your own, buy from farmshops, supermarkets or veg vans, there’s a huge array of native produce on offer.
Fruit in season
For those who are growing their own; cherries (why not try our cheesecake recipe), gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries and currants are the stars of the fruit garden in July. Other fruit in season includes: Apricots, Blackcurrant, Blueberries, Loganberries, Nectarines, Peaches, Melons and Tayberries.
Vegetables in season
For the kitchen gardener vegetables you could be harvesting may include beetroot, potatoes, radishes, turnips and lettuce, peas and perhaps even broccoli depending of course on your planting schedule. At this time of year there is now an extensive range of commercially grown UK crops that you should also look out for: Aubergines, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli (calabrese), cabbages (summer, red), celery, chard, chicory, courgettes, cucumbers, fennel (Florence), globe artichokes, green beans (French and runner), kohlrabi, leaf beet (perpetual spinach), lettuce and other salad leaves, mangetout, marrows, new potatoes, okra, pak choi, peas, peppers, radishes, shallots, spinach, spring onions, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, watercress.
With the colder start to the year Elderflowers are now in full bloom. Why not try our Elderflower cordial recipe. For the more adventurous why not try making Elderflower champagne – our last batch exploded in our shed so watch out! Heady honeysuckle can be used to make refreshing sorbets, jams or jellies – but remember not to eat the berries as they are mildly toxic.
Lots of herbs are available to be harvested; chives, this seasons coriander and basil, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme and of course bay.