While June is a great month for most fruits and vegetables, there are those that stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Peas, asparagus, and strawberries are all maturing into their season as June starts. Broad beans and raspberries join them at the end of the month, when they begin to come into season.
Both members of the legume family, peas and broad beans can often be interchanged in recipes. With peas, it's important to use them as soon as possible after picking. After being picked, the sugars turn to starch. This means that if they've sat in your fridge for a few days, they won't have the fresh, delicate flavour they had when picked.
Broad beans and peas should both be podded, though very fresh or young pods can be eaten whole. Many people also prefer to double pod broad beans. This means removing the skin of each individual bean. While this may seem labour intensive, it can give you a more enjoyable finished dish.
Asparagus is grown around the world, but most experts agree that the British crops have the best flavour. To get the most from them, look for straight, firm shoots with tightly packed tips. When cooking with asparagus, the trick is to not overcook it. Young shoots, known as sprue, can be served uncooked, with the larger asparagus needing only a few minutes on the boil, in a steamer, or under the grill.
June's two fruit leaders are also typically British. British strawberry varieties tend to be smaller, but with intense, sweet flavours. Raspberries will offer a floral aroma and delicately sweet flavour. The two can be combined or used separately in recipes, although you'll find it hard to not eat the full punnet as is.
All of these seasonal fruits and vegetables offer great flavours and a nutritional punch. From the vitamin A, C, potassium, and iron in asparagus to the protein and B vitamins in broad beans, eating seasonal offerings will give you the highest levels of nutrition, too.
For starters, salads, mains, and desserts, June offers many great fruits and vegetables. Our favourites can be used in a variety of dishes, or eaten on their own, as fresh from the farm as possible.