The season for plump berries and juicy stone fruit, fresh salad leaves and fragrant heirloom tomatoes may be over but autumn brings with it its own bounty of fruit and vegies. We show you what to look for and offer tips on how best to cook and eat it.
Autumnal fruit and vegetables to look out for
Having spent the summer months slowly ripening, the early part of the season sees watermelons and rockmelons at their best, tomatoes in great supply, and pumpkins and eggplants ready for eating. Wild mushrooms start to sprout as autumn progresses and trees begin to drop nuts such as pecans, macadamias, chestnuts, almonds, pistachios and walnuts. Orchard fruits such as apples and pears are in abundance, figs are cheap and pomegranates shine. As autumn turns to winter, look for cooler weather vegies such as brussels sprouts, kale, radicchio and celeriac.
Cooking with autumnal fruit
Apples and pears
Stew on your gas cooktop with sugar or use in crumbles, tarts and pies. Alternatively, roast with meat - both pears and apples are a match made in heaven with pork.
Eat these as they are or turn them into a sorbet. Rockmelon is also lovely sliced and served simply alongside parma or Serrano ham.
Figs are so cheap and in such plentiful supply at this time of year that they can be made into jams by simmering them with sugar and lemon juice on your gas cooktop until soft, gooey and sticky.
Thicken and enrich a stew or soup with a bumper crop of ripe tomatoes, make a pasta sauce, or use in savoury baked goodies such as muffins and tarts.
Cooking with autumnal vegetables
Make the most of seasonal wild mushrooms by enhancing their woodsy flavour in a sauce to accompany steak, a mushroom stroganoff, a game pie, a soup, or simply with scrambled eggs as a delicious brunch.
Slow-cook in stews and soups, roast and use instead of potatoes or in a warm salad with bacon and toasted pumpkin seeds, or bake in a pie.
Halve and bake in your gas oven then stuff with cheese and tomatoes, chop into a ratatouille, or add to a curry.
2015’s new superfood, sprouts can be pan-fried on your cooktop with chopped red chillies, pine nuts and bacon, slow-cooked in a stew with other seasonal veg, or roasted with herbs.
Simply pan-fry with garlic and walnuts and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, bake in a single layer to produce kale crisps, or add to soups, curries and stews.
Cooking with autumnal nuts
Nuts have a wide variety of uses as ingredients in food, both savoury and sweet. Warm up your kitchen and send the aromas of freshly baked nut-laced cookies and cakes through your home; finely chop them and use to give extra crunch to a fruit crumble; crush pistachios and sprinkle over slow-cooked Moroccan lamb; roast chestnuts in the oven and eat warm as a snack, combine with chocolate in a cake or tart, throw into stews, or bake whole with meat. The possibilities are endless.