Seasons eatings

IMG_1389Last year, as you devoted readers will surely remember, I used to write a monthly ‘in season’ post, detailing the fruit and veg on offer in France at different times of the year. But Paris is just such a fun-packed dame, there were just too many other cracking things to write about to keep the idea going.

But I still consider eating with the seasons to be an important practice, being good for the planet, superior in both nutrition and flavour, but more importantly in the context of the frugal nature of my mission, kinder to the wallet. It may be now a bit of a bobo (‘bourgeois bohème’, i.e. a bit hipster) trend, but back in Victor Hugo’s day, the peasants relied on seasonal and local produce out of sheer survival, whilst the super rich gorged themselves on pricey produce from far-flung lands. In the 21st century, that comes with a huge ecological sacrifice.

Instead of writing a monthly update as before, I’m going to deliver this essential info in one fell swoop for you to keep with you throughout the year, as a handy list to glance at before heading to the market. It’s by no means exhaustive or set in stone (every single table of seasonal produce I stumbled upon during my research was different, so I’ve tried to shoot straight down the middle), and I’ve tried to include the produce that’s most popular and usually found at French markets and supermarket shelves. Anything in italics is either coming in to or going out of season, meaning it’s usual available, but you might not get the best quality possible. Happy cooking!

Kim farm 4JANUARY Apples, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, clementine, endive, garlic, fennel, Jerusalem artichoke, kale (now available in French supermarkets!), kiwi, leeks, mandarin, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, pear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, swede

FEBRUARY Apples, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, endive, fennel, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kiwi, leeks, mandarin, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, pear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach, swede

MARCH Apples, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, chard, endive, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kiwi, leeks, mushrooms, onion, parsnippear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach, turnip

asparagus

APRIL Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, chard, celeriac, endive, garlic, kiwi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, turnip, watercress

MAY Artichoke, asparagus, apricot, aubergine, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, chard, cherry, cucumber, garlic, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, peas, potatoes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, strawberries, tomato, watercress

JUNE Artichoke, apricot, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflowercelery, chard, cherry, courgette, cucumber, fennel, French beans, garlic, kale, lettuce, melon, mushrooms, onion, peach, peas, pepper, plum, potatoes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, strawberries, tomato, turnip, watercress

IMG_1630JULY Artichoke, apricot, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherry, courgette, cucumber, fennel, French beans, garlic, kale, lettuce, melon, mushrooms, onion, peach, peas, pepper, plum, potatoes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, strawberries, tomato, turnip, watercress

AUGUST Apples, apricot, artichoke, aubergine, beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, cherry, courgette, cucumber, fennel, fig, French beans, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melon, mirabelle, mushrooms, nectarine, onion, peach, pepper, plum, potatoes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, strawberries, sweetcorn, tomato, turnip, watercress

SEPTEMBER Apples, artichoke, aubergine, beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, courgette, cucumber, fennel, fig, French beans, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melon, mirabelle, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, peach, pear, pepper, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, spring onion, strawberries, sweetcorn, tomato, turnip, watercress

???????????????????????????????OCTOBER Apples, aubergine, beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage; carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chestnuts, courgette, endive, fennel, fig, French beans, garlic, grapes, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, pear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach, spring onion, swede, sweetcorn, tomato, turnip, watercress

NOVEMBER Apples, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sproutscabbage, carrot, cauliflowerceleriac, celery, chestnuts, clementine, endive, fennel, garlic, grapes, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, mandarin, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, pear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress

DECEMBER Apples, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sproutscabbage, carrot, cauliflowerceleriac, chestnuts, clementine, endive, fennel, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kiwi, leeks, mandarin, onion, parsnip, pear, pomegranate, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, spinach, swede

In season: January

???????????????????????????????

The Christmas season generally brings with it an abundance of calories, and for most of January spells regimes, resolutions for a healthier diet, and cutting back on the good stuff. But don’t allow yourself to feel hard done by, learn to embrace the seasons, and you’ll see Parisian markets can offer you all you could need to dine each day like a king (whilst spending like a pauper).

Eating what’s in season is better for the environment given that the produce doesn’t have to travel far, meaning the price doesn’t get pushed up by fuel costs too. Plus produce in season is plentiful and therefore less expensive by default, and the cherry on the pie is that seasonal food just tastes better as you’re eating it exactly when nature intended it to be eaten. And we all know that taste comes above everything when we’re talking about French cooking.

Admittedly January isn’t the most exciting of months when it comes to what’s good to eat now, but there are a few gems to take advantage of – think a month of warming root vegetable stews and chunky soups. Below is a list of fruit and vegetables currently in season in France (by no means exhaustive), and I’ll make sure to update you month by month.

If you’re ever in any doubt when you’re at the market of supermarket, have a look at the sign for each produce item and it will show you the country of origin. Anything further afield than France, Spain, Belgian or the Netherlands for example, and you’re likely to be paying much of the price per kilo for your vegetable’s airfare. And remember, meats and seafood have their own seasons too. But more about that later.

Beetroot – betterave
Blood orange – orange sanguine
Brussels sprouts – chou de Bruxelles
Cabbage – chou
Carrot – carotte
Cauliflower – chou-fleur
Celeriac – céleri rave
Celery – céleri
Chard – blette
Chicory – endive
Clementine – clémentine
Jerusalem artichoke – topinambour
Kale – so difficult to find in France, it doesn’t have a translation. But check out http://thekaleproject.wordpress.com/ to find out where you can buy it
Leeks – poireau
Parsnip – panais
Potatoes – pomme de terre
Pumpkin – citrouille/potiron
Swede – rutabaga

For more information, head here: http://www.fruits-legumes.org/