Crisp days and dark, chilly nights mean November calls for hearty dishes that pack shed-loads of flavour but also warm the soul. While winter is approaching, there's still an abundance of tasty ingredients grown here in the UK to get your hands on. Discover what needs to be on your shopping list this month below.
What fruit and vegetables are in season in November?
Brussels Sprouts - Brussels sprouts once got a bitterly bad rep, but no longer. Provided that they are steamed, boiled or roasted until just tender, they’re an easy, fast and reliable veg to have on your dinner plate. Creamy, cheesy sauces work really well with their texture and flavour, like in this gratin.
Butternut Squash - Although available year round, autumn is the best time for butternut squash. It can be steamed and microwaved (good if making a puree) but roasting caramelises its natural sugars, bringing out its flavour to the fullest. If you're a bit baffled on how to tackle it at first, follow our easy butternut squash preparation tips.
Cauliflower - More versatile than given credit for, forget boring boiled florets and whizz up raw cauliflower to make a low-carb rice, or roast it whole with a spicy rub for an elegant vegetarian centrepiece. Got a surplus of the stuff? Discover how you can freeze cauliflower, too.
Chestnuts - Smooth, soft and delicate in flavour, if you’re lucky enough to live near sweet chestnut trees, go pick some! Chestnuts are great used in stuffings and nut roasts, and, of course, are a seasonal favourite when simply roasted. Just be sure to cut a cross in the skin before putting them in the oven, to stop them from exploding.
Kale - Avoid buying pre-shredded kale and buy it whole, as this means you can cut out the woody, tough stems completely and just use the leaves. Braise, steam or blanch for 8-10 mins until completely tender.
Parsnips - Parsnips aren’t just for Christmas. Roasting parsnips gives them the most complex flavour of all the cooking methods and are a fantastic addition to a roast, bangers and mash or pie. Leftovers can be blitzed to a creamy soup, while you can grate raw parsnip into cakes, just as you would carrot.
Pears - Pears should be perfectly ripe right at this time of year, but if you’ve bought some that are a little on the hard side, there’s an easy fix. Pop into a bag with a banana and the gas given off by the banana will speed up the ripening process.
Pumpkin - From mini munchkins to colossal Cinderella specimens, pumpkins are more than just a Halloween prop. Roasted in wedges, they are a delicious side. Pumpkins make the velvetiest soups, but are also perfect in sweet dishes too, like these scrumptiously simple scones. Learn how to prepare your pumpkin properly with our how-to guide.
Red Cabbage - Cabbage is an incredibly cost-effective veg, as it’s reasonably priced, goes far and keeps well. Shredded into a slaw, it partners well with wholegrain mustard, while it can be cooked slowly with spices, sugar and a little red wine vinegar. Both are ideal accompaniments to a thickly-sliced baked ham.
Swede - Swedes aren't the most popular of all the root veg but they're actually very straightforward to cook. Tasting somewhere between carrot, cabbage and potato, chop it into batons, toss with oil and roast to make chips, or boil and mash it for a delicious, fluffy side dish with sausages.
Also in season in November are root veg like beetroot, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, salsify and turnips. Bitter and fragrant chicory, fennel and leafy Swiss Chard are candidates for turning into warm salads. Autumn's leeks, savoy cabbage and wild mushrooms can be sautéed in butter and enjoyed with meat.
Winter fruits start to make their annual appearance too, all of which need to be cooked: cranberries go great in crumbles, elderberries (which are toxic if eaten raw) add a sweet, almost vanilla flavour when used with other fruit in jams, and sour quinces can be stewed or preserved.