Seasonal food to cook in July

July brings with it a fresh crop of soft fruit and fresh salad vegetables to perfectly complement the season's best catch of fish and meat. Here's how to use July's bounty to create delicious, seasonal meals. 

July is the height of the season for home produce, with a wealth of soft fruits to be enjoyed or preserved quickly before they vanish for another year, or these days become too expensive for this to be economic.

Large, pink-blushed gooseberries are delicious when lightly poached, and currants and cherries are all readily available for introducing lively flavours to savoury, as well as sweet, dishes.

summer berries

In a good year, there is often a glut of fruit and vegetables, so this is likely to be a busy time for stocking the freezer and making jam or chutney. Those with large vegetable patches think of July as a month to test their culinary ingenuity in dealing with trug loads of green vegetables.

Towards the end of the month, and particularly after a good shower of rain, it is easy to imagine that prolific vegetables, such as courgettes and runner beans, seem to grow before your eyes. From the specialist food counters and shops, shellfish is readily available, with cockles, scallops, crab and lobster giving good value for money.

Read more: An A–Z guide to preparing shellfish

Celery grown in kitchen gardens is ready, needing a thorough wash to rinse out all the dirt, but rewarding the hard work with an excellent flavour both in salads and cooked dishes. This is also a month when heads of British-grown garlic can be plaited and hung in a cool place for early winter use.

Take advantage of a plentiful supply of garden herbs by freezing them ready for winter. If time allows chop the herbs first or simply freeze the washed and dried stalks whole—the leaves usually crumble easily when frozen hard.

bbq food

Warm days and long, light evenings mean that barbecues continue to be popular. This chapter includes family favourites, like burgers, plus suggestions for seasonings, marinades and sauces to pep up a wide variety of plain ingredients.

Those who do not eat meat need not feel left out as the recipes include grilled fish, cheese and vegetables.

If you want your gourmet summer feasts to be extra relaxing, why not have it all delivered directly to your door? All the tasty bits and pieces mentioned here are available from our partners Royal Warrant holding butcher, Donald Russell, in one handy selection, individually packed and conveniently frozen ready for your home freezer. 

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