What to eat in
Juicy red strawberries, broad beans and fresh new potatoes that you don't need to peel are all available in June
In June the first crops start to flow from the kitchen garden into the kitchen, and there's an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables to cook, eat and enjoy.
Even if you don't grow your own you can take advantage of the cheap, seasonal produce that's available now, shaving pounds off your shopping bill and cutting your food miles. Farmers' Markets are a great place to check out locally produced fruit and vegetables – or you could sign up for a weekly veg box to make sure you get your five-a-day.
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits in the UK – and by mid-June the strawberry season is in full swing. You can buy supermarket strawberries year-round, but strawberries shipped from Egypt in December are not the same as British strawberries picked in June!
These red juicy fruits are at their best served simply with fresh cream. But if you fancy something more substantial, try topping scones, shortbread or meringue nests with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.
To harvest your own strawberries, plant runners in August or September – they should produce a decent crop for several years. Strawberries are easy to grow and are particularly suited to containers or hanging baskets – just give them a sunny, sheltered spot and keep them well watered.
Broad beans are also ready this month. The young beans taste wonderful when lightly steamed and tossed with butter and mint. Or try frying some garlic and red onion in a little olive oil, throw in some par-boiled, diced potatoes and some blanched broad beans, then add cubed Halloumi (Cypriot cheese) and a handful of fresh herbs – dill is good.
Fresh broad beans aren't readily available in most supermarkets – so if you want a good supply, you may need to grow your own. Fortunately they're simple to grow: sow seeds into rich soil in February or March and keep well watered. You don't need much space, either – Sutton is a dwarf variety that's ideal for growing in pots.
The first homegrown potatoes will now be ready to harvest. These “first early” varieties, such as Arran Pilot and Rocket, come out of the ground so fresh that you can rub the skins off with your fingertips – no need to peel!
Baked, boiled, mashed or roasted, you can cook potatoes in a different way for every day of the week. Homemade oven chips are tastier than frozen – cut peeled potatoes into chip-sized pieces, coat in sunflower oil and roast in a hot oven. And for really special roast potatoes, chop spuds into bite-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin with whole unpeeled garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, plenty of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Roast for 30 minutes, turning the potatoes over in the oil halfway through cooking. Squeeze the cooked garlic over the potatoes before serving – great with grilled chicken and a green salad.
It's easy to pick up a pot of potato salad from the supermarket, but it's not a patch on homemade. Making your own means you can add different ingredients for flavour: garlic, chives and parsley all work well, but my favourite combination is spring onions and dill.
Chop about 600g of waxy salad potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Boil for about 10 mins until just beginning to soften. Drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Stir in the cold potatoes and add 3 finely sliced spring onions and a tablespoon of fresh, chopped dill.
Little Green Space June 2016