December is arguably one of the biggest months of the year for both those who like to cook and those who like to eat. With plenty of opportunities to cook something a bit more special, we take a look at what produce is at its best and the most delicious dishes to make.
December means there are plenty of winter greens in the shape of broccoli, cabbage, kale, leeks and sprouts. Cauliflower also comes into season during the month and there are lots of root vegetables to cook with such as swede, beetroot, carrots, parsnips and celeriac.
Don’t forget maincrop and sweet potatoes as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chestnuts, of course.
Turkey might steal the spotlight later in the month, but it’s not the only meat to consider. A plump, free-range chicken, glazed ham or luxurious rib of beef make excellent choices for a Sunday roast, while goose, grouse, guinea fowl, duck and venison are among the game options. This is also a great month to try rabbit dishes.
Expect to see plenty of salmon and smoked salmon on the shelves this month, excellent for light starters or decadent festive breakfasts.
If you prefer shellfish, look out for lobster, clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. Other catches of the month include mackerel, lemon sole, hake, turbot and plaice. Don’t forget to consider fish and seafood soups for warming meals.
It’s a quiet month in the calendar for local British produce except for a few varieties of apples, like Braeburn and Pink Lady, as well as late-season pears. But December is synonymous with imported citrus fruits, especially clementines, satsumas, tangerines and pomegranates.
If you have a sweet tooth, this month brings plenty of opportunities for festive baking. Cranberries, hazelnuts and walnuts are all in season and are well suited for a range of baked goods.