Each month our chefs in the Curve create dishes containing the ‘seasonal fruit or vegetable’ of the month, this month we will be celebrating the wonderful blackberry and butternut squash.
Not only are blackberries delicious, they are also packed full of antioxidants; these antioxidants are effective in the prevention of certain cancers and also aging due to the concentrations of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
Blackberries are also incredible important for wildlife – over 150 species of invertebrates use the plant as a food source, including butterflies and moths.
As wild berries have a depth of flavour rarely rivalled by cultivated varieties, we recommend to forage rather than buy. Take a container and an umbrella (for hooking branches) and search out brambles near you. We found a map of fruit foraging hotspots during our search of the internet for the best places to pick blackberries, so if you’re interested in harvesting some wild blackberries, check it out! Please do remember not to completely clear an area of fruit as it’s important for wildlife too! Alternatively try a farmers’ market or a PYO farm (good blackberries aren’t widely available in supermarkets as they’re difficult to transport intact). Look for plump, dry, darkly-coloured fruit that are neither too firm nor too squishy. Check the bottom of the container for stains from soft and mushy berries.
Once you have either foraged for or bought some local blackberries, why not try making this delicious Apple and Blackberry Frangipane Crumble Recipe from The Curve?
Butternut squash is very similar to a pumpkin but actually has more vitamin A and also has lots of antioxidants. It is also contains zero saturated fat or cholesterol so it is definitely a healthy choice this autumn.
If you want to try and grow your own butternut squash, unfortunately for now the growing season is over.
It’s recommended to start growing butternut squash in April in a sunny spot – do bear in mind that butternut squash vines can need up to 50 square foot for growing! A method of planting butternut squash is to ensure that the soil is well tilled, up to about 8 inches and then create hills that are about 12 inches across and 3 inches high. After the hills have been made, plant two seeds around 1 inch deep and water thoroughly. Once your seedlings have grown, thin out the least healthy looking plant from each mound and dispose of it. Butternut squash take around 110 days to grow and you should know when they’re ready to be harvested as the stem will begin to turn brown. Although squash take a long time to grow, once you’ve harvested them they can last around 2-3 months if stored in a cool, dark place.
We recommend you make this Spicy Butterbean, Chickpea and Butternut Squash stew recipe from the wonderful chefs at The Curve with your seasonal butternut squash.
To find out the benefits of eating seasonal produce, make sure you read our previous blog post.
Remember, we will be promoting different seasonal produce each month, so keep an eye out at The Curve and also on our social media pages!