Food in Season: August
By WLR's Food Information Executive, Laurence Beeken
So what seasonal food will tempt you in August?
It’s all about al fresco! August is when the vegetable garden is full of seasonal food and there seems to be an endless supply of local produce such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines to compliment the salads and courgettes that are part of the summer menu.
What else is on the summer seasonal food menu?
Plums are starting to put in a welcome appearance and don’t forget that this is also the opportunity to use any excess by making jams and preserves.
If you are of the opinion that fresh is best, especially when it comes to meat, why not try some of the great British game available and remember that venison is in season from the start of August - why not try grilling the meat on the barbeque for added flavour!
Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile fruit typical of summer season food and remember they can be used at all times of the year, not just August, adding sweetness to seasonal recipes and salads alike.
Canned, chopped, sliced, pureed, sundried, juiced and bottled even pulverized into passata, we are more than familiar with this summer berry which comes in all colours from green through yellow orange and red, even white and purple striped!
A member of the ‘solanaceae’ family which includes potatoes and peppers as well as many of the poisonous nightshades, tomatoes can be:
There is no end to our love affair with the tomato – it’s not called the love apple for nothing!
Whatever you want to call them however, tomatoes are one of the so called super foods, being packed with vitamins A, C & K and potassium.
A great source of Lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant linked to cancer prevention, a 100g serving packs just 18 calories so it is well worth including in your weight loss food plans.
Eaten raw, tomatoes take no preparation and a quick rinse under the tap is all that is needed!
If you need to remove the skins, as many recipes call for these days, mark a cross on the bottom and place in a pan of boiling water for around 20-30 seconds. Remove and plunge into cold water, the skins will then come away very easily.
Pick the reddest, ripest you can find and remember they should not be stored in the fridge, as this will reduce their great flavour. If you can grow them at home they are at the beat picked on a sunny summer’s day. Under-ripe tomatoes can be stored with a banana where the ethylene gas from the skin will hasted their reddening.
|Fruit and Veg (servings)||1.3|
- Tasty Tomato Relish (91.9kcal per serving)
- Tomato Cous Cous (331.3kcal per serving)
- Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes (271.4kcal per serving)
Another summer seasonal food available in August is the plum.
Plums are in season from mid to late August until October and are one of the best low calorie and low fat stone fruits you can buy.
They vary in colour from green and yellow to yellow through red & purple and are an excellent opportunity to ‘eat a rainbow’ to get those all important phytochemicals (naturally-occurring plant chemicals) which may help to protect you from a range of health problems including:
Plums are also full of antioxidants, a useful source of Vitamin A, C and E and also contain the amino acid Tryptophan which is used by the body to produce serotonin, known as a happy hormone, which increases our sense of well being. All this goodness for a tiny 36 calories per 100g.
When buying plums, chose those which are firm and well coloured, and if you want them for cooking, select those which are on the firm side.
Like the tomato they can be eaten as they are once they have had a quick rinse under the tap. To remove the skin (if you must) plunging into hot water for 10 seconds will do the trick. Plums can also be roasted, stewed or poached.
If you buy unripe plums store at room temperature to ripen, they can then be kept refrigerated for a few days. They are also fine to freeze; simply halve them and remove the stone to prevent a bitter taste to the flesh. Summer excess can also be turned into jam or other preserves.
|Fruit and Veg (servings)||1.3|
- Plum & Basil Torte (334kcal per serving)
- Plum Chutney (38.1kcal per serving)
- Plum & Tomato Soup (143.9kcal per serving)
When it comes to eating the seasons, venison was historically a food of the British aristocracy. More and more however, cuts are appearing in supermarket, making this a far more accessible menu option for summer recipes.
In season from August, venison is rich in protein and lower in fat than beef and some other red meats. It is a good source of B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. In addition, most game will be grass fed and this may well have additional nutritional benefits.
Go for park (free-range) or wild venison as opposed to farmed as the flavour will be far superior and as fat content in venison can vary, this type will be lower as the animals have roamed free.
Store in the bottom (coldest part) of the fridge for a few days (or longer if vacuum packed). Fresh meat can be frozen as per your butcher’s or the packet instructions.
Cook venison as you would beef. It is best to compensate for the lower fat content, for example by using moist-cooking methods, such as marinating before cooking. A simple herb marinade will do much to add to the flavour yet not detract from the taste of the meat. As there is little fat, over cooking may toughen the meat, and will also increase the ‘gamey’ flavour especially if steaks are cooked well done.
- Venison Steak with Salsa (299.8kcal per serving)
- Venison Burger (232.6kcal per serving)
- Venison Salad (298.7kcal per serving)