October is quite a transitional month for fruit and veggies in Ireland. The peas and beans are gone for another year and courgettes, cucumbers and rhubarb are becoming more scarce as the month goes on. It's not all sad goodbyes though. The new season eating and cooking apples are in full swing as are the main crop of potatoes. Cauli's, Broccoli, and root vegetables like Turnips, Parsnips, Celeriac, Beetroot and Carrots are all thriving in October and it's time to start thinking of heartwarming stews and broths for the chilly days to come.
From further afield the soft fruits from Spain and Italy have finished until next June, as have the New Italian and Cyprus Potatoes. But some real gems are making an appearance like the French heirloom purple and white carrots. In Ireland we tend to grow Pumpkins for display at Halloween and not for eating, but there is a whole world of Squash and Pumpkins out there that are in season now. Hokaidos, Potimaroons, Patidous, and Jack be Littles are all in from France and make a really nice alternative to Butternut Squash.
Celeriac: In my opinion Celeriac is a seriously under-rated vegetable. That's probably because it's brain like features mean it's one of the ugliest vegetables going. But I wouldn't judge this book by it's cover. Celeriac is a really versatile vegetable and adds a subtle parsley and celery flavour to any dish. Especially good in mashed potatoes, you can use it in loads of soups or add it to your roast vegetables for a Sunday roast.
Kale: With Halloween at the end of the month it would be criminal not to hail the superfood that is the star of a good Colcannon. Its bursting with Vitamin K, C and A and can even help lower cholesterol. Keep an eye out for our Colcannon recipe later in the month.
Parsnips: Whether roasted with a bird on a Sunday afternoon, or boiled in a stew for a midweek dinner, the Parsnip is just a great all rounder. You can even make chips out of them!
Brussel Sprouts: The controversial Brussel Sprout makes its introduction around this time of year. I don't think there is any other vegetable that is so loved and detested in equal measure. If you hate them, skip this bit, but if you love them you'll be happy to know theres a good early crop this year and they're as tasty as ever.