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Food

In season: what to cook and eat in July

by Abigail Spooner
In season: what to cook and eat in July
Image: Andrew Burton

Summer is in full swing and, luckily for us, so is the season’s produce. The hedgerows are brimming with berries, stone fruits are ripe for picking and peas are ready to be popped from their pods. Scroll down for our pick of July’s top ingredients and inspiring recipe ideas…

1. Gooseberries

Plump and flavoursome gooseberries have a fleeting season, so you need to make the most of them in the next couple of months. With their signature tartness, they are usually sweetened by poaching in sugar and water until just bursting. Gooseberries are delicious paired with elderflower in compotes or a fruity fool. Later in the season, you’ll find red or golden coloured gooseberries, which are sweet enough to be enjoyed raw.

Try it: Gooseberry crumble cake

Offset the sharpness of gooseberries with the sweetness of this cake. It’s topped with an irresistible crumble topping.

2. Peaches

Image: Kris Kirkham
Image: Kris Kirkham

At their peak, a perfectly ripe peach is one of summer’s great pleasures. If it gives off a sweet aroma, it’s a good sign that it’s ready to be enjoyed. They work equally well in sweet and savoury dishes; try pairing peaches with halloumi or feta in a salad or with almonds in a frangipane tart.

Try it: Charred chorizo, peach and pitta panzanella

Peaches replace tomatoes in this twist on the classic Tuscan bread salad. It’s the perfect excuse to fire up the barbecue.

3. Peas

Image: Gareth Morgans
Image: Gareth Morgans

While many of us will have a frozen stash of peas all year round, it’s worth shelling out for the fresh variety right now. Bright green and with a delicate sweetness, pop peas from their pods and briefly blanch them to retain their vibrancy and flavour. Toss them into salads, stir through risottos or serve them simply with a little butter and chopped mint.

Try it: Bacon-crumbed cod with minty crushed potatoes and peas

This 30-minute fish supper makes a healthy choice for midweek, coming in at under 500 calories per serving.

4. Aubergines

Image: Martin Poole
Image: Martin Poole

With their glossy, dark purple skins, aubergines have a striking appearance. They’re ideal for soaking up bold flavours and as a result are often paired with spices in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. They can be fried, baked or barbecued for a lovely smokiness. Try scooping out the flesh from the charred skin and mashing it with olive oil, lemon, coriander and tahini for a baba ganoush-style dip.

Try it: Baharat-spiced baked aubergines with feta, fennel and spelt

Make aubergines the star of the show with this Middle Eastern-style dish topped with jewel-like pomegranate seeds.

5. Blueberries

Image: Martin Poole
Image: Martin Poole

British berries are at their seasonal best over the summer months and blueberries are a particularly healthy choice as they're rich in antioxidants and are a recognised superfood. Bake them into muffins, scatter over yogurt with granola for a quick breakfast, or simply enjoy by the juicy handful.

Try it: Blueberry and hazelnut galette

Bursting with jammy berries, this pud will go down a treat at your next summer gathering.

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