Warming winter soups, iron-packed greens, and nutritious mussels and mackerel are on the menu this February. When looking to use seasonal ingredients, February is a month that is packed with immune-boosting vegetables to ward off winter coughs and colds.
Whether you look to the UK or further afield in Europe, there is more to February’s harvest than just the usual root vegetables you’d find in the shops. In fact, you might even find some of these more traditional foods getting a new lease of life.
Vegetables that grow easily in the UK are available in abundance in February. Brussels sprouts still haven’t seen the last of their shelf life following the Christmas glut and its larger relative, the cabbage, can be added to stir-fry, soup and starters with ease.
Cauliflower is seeing a reinvigoration on the menu recently as a healthy, plant-based alternative to BBQ wings or even a pizza base. These foods are easily pre-made and stored in your commercial cold rooms.
Your roasting root vegetables of swede and parsnip are bountiful this time of year, as is the lesser-known but sweetly grown Jerusalem artichoke. These little roots look more like potatoes than they do their fancier cousins, the globe artichoke. You will be sure to see some of these vegetables making it onto the table when you head out for Sunday Lunch Cotswolds way, along with some delightful cuts of meat and of course the obligatory yorkshire pudding.
Cockles, muscles and mackerel might bring Mediterranean holidays to mind rather than the frosty February chill, but when cooked in a chowder or broth with some restorative kale, you have a perfect seasonal steamer.
Mackerel makes a particularly good pie or baked in with pasta for those who need their carbohydrates a little hotter to see them through the end of winter.
Rhubarb may not be an obvious winter fruit, but February is the peak of the forced rhubarb season before the outdoor-grown fruit takes over. Whether you crumble, fool, or serve as a main with mackerel, the rhubarb is fast becoming the fruit of February.
A less obvious choice is the short season of the Mediterranean blood orange, which is perfect for picking right now. Use in marmalades or tarts, or make a dramatic cocktail with their blood red juice and tart flavour.