What’s in season in September?
The easiest way to eat seasonally is to buy local, visit your nearest farmer’s market and immerse yourself in the produce that is grown on your doorstep. If you are living in an urban area and do not have access to a local farmers market, supporting Irish producers in the supermarkets is a great way to get in season.
We are lucky to live in a country that produces such an abundance of great fresh produce, we should be aware of what is in season, look forward to it and embrace it! Of course, it is not always possible to eat locally and seasonally but where we can, we should at least give it a try.
Irish apple season is at its peak in September, be sure to try this year’s juicy and crunchy Irish apple fresh off the apple tree. Today, Irish apple growers are making the most of their apple crop by exploring alternative routes to markets. There are many Irish apple growers developing innovative and award-winning apple-based products such as Longueville’s Apple Brandy, Llewellyn Apple Balsamic Vinegar, Highbank Orchard Apple Syrup (an Irish alternative to imported maple syrup) and numerous Irish craft ciders.
Our Ballymaloe Apple Sauce is made with apples from Mac Neice’s orchard. The MacNeice family has been growing apples in Ardress, Co. Armagh since 1855. They specialize in the growing and processing of Bramley apples. The Bramley apple is regarded as the best apple for culinary use as it retains its intense flavour when cooked. The MacNeice family now produce Mc Ivor Craft Cider, which has been a great success and is available to purchase nationwide.
We make our Ballymaloe Apple Sauce using just 4 ingredients: apple, apple juice, sugar, wholegrain mustard. It’s light, sweet flavour makes it the perfect accompaniment to pork dishes, including roast fillet of pork and pork chops. For an extra special treat, stir some Ballymaloe Apple Sauce into equal amounts of mashed potato, sautéed onions and enjoy with roast pork and crackling.
Have fun with cabbage this season by cooking with different varieties. Red cabbage is a wonderful crunchy addition to any salad. Finely chop red cabbage and spring onion, grated carrot and dress with Ballymaloe Balsamic and Irish Apple Cider Vinegrette for the perfect red slaw!
White cabbage is great also for salads, make a good old-fashioned coleslaw, finely slice white cabbage then add grated carrot and diced onion. Finally, mix with Ballymaloe Mayo and a spoon of mustard for a perfect side salad. Alternatively, make some sauerkraut this season, homemade sauerkraut is a world apart from shop brought. It’s crunchy, slightly sour and works very well with beef or in a simple sandwich.
Let us not forget good old bacon and cabbage, an Irish classic! Bake you ham with our Ballymaloe Ham Glaze, it has a delicious sweet flavour from the pineapple and cloves and a rich texture and colour from the Dungarvan Irish Stout. It is perfect for glazing ham in the final stages of cooking or mixed with the cooking juices and poured over ham for a very attractive and delicious finish.
Parsnips, carrots and turnips will be coming into their own at this time of year. Roasted vegetables, vegetable gratins and hearty thick vegetable soups are welcomed with open arms in September.
Growing herbs on your windowsill is a great way for beginners to start growing their own food, chives, parsley, dill, fennel and mint work well and are very low maintenance. You will find that once these flavourful ingredients are within reaching a distance of your prep area you will add them to your dishes. Including fresh coriander in a curry or chopped chives, a sprinkle of coriander on your carrots, chopped chives and a knob of butter on boiled potatoes, is a simple way to refresh the everyday! Tomatoes are also in season, fresh tomatoes and basil salad with Ballymaloe Classic French Dressing, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Additionally, hydrate with a mint tea or relax with a delicious mint mojito made with your home-grown mint. You can never have too many herbs, and even if you do, you can use them up by making a delicious pesto!
Strawberries and raspberries are the hardiest Irish berries, they have the longest season and go out of season in late October. Blackberries are at their best in September, take a walk on rural Irish roads and find every ditched full of ripening blackberries. They are juicy and ready for the taking, bring a bowl with you to take some home to make delicious jam.
Native oysters are back in season. Call into your local fishmongers, in East Cork we are lucky to have Ballycotton Seafoods to supply us with the freshest and tastiest oysters. Mackerel is still in season, the season peaks in July, August and September, then tapers off again towards the end of the year, so get your fill while you can!