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Winter Produce - North Yorkshire Local Food
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Winter Produce



Wild Boar





Jerusalem Artichokes


The misnamed Jerusalem artichoke has no real link with Jerusalem, and isn't related to other artichokes. It looks a bit like a knobbly pink-skinned ginger root and has a sweet, nutty flavour, reminiscent of water chestnuts. Although not widely used (perhaps because of its awkward appearance or anti-social effects - see Nutrition), it is an inexpensive and versatile food that can be used both raw and cooked and makes a delicious soup.

Like potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke can be served with or without the skin - scrub clean and leave it on for maximum nutritional benefit.
Cook as you would potatoes - roast, sauté, bake, boil or steam. If peeling or cutting, drop pieces into water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Unlike potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke can also be used raw (e.g. in salads) or lightly stir-fried

Nutrition - Jerualem artichokes are very rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health due to its prebiotic (bacteria promoting) properties. These health benefits come at a price; the food can have a potent wind-producing effect. Jerusalem artichokes also contain vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium and are a very good source of iron.

Tips - Roots should be free from soft spots, wrinkles or sprouting. Knobbles and uneveness are unavoidable (and not indicative of quality), but smoother, rounder artichokes are easier to prepare.

Storing - Jerusalem artichokes will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.



The glorious game bird. The red grouse feeds on the young heather shoots on the North Yorkshire Moors, from which it gets its deliciously distinctive flavour. The grouse season runs from the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ (August) to the tenth of December, but young birds shot at the first half of the season are generally the better tasting. The meat is dark red, rich and gamey, yet at the same time delicate in flavour. Grouse is available from farmers markets, good independent butchers and game dealers, if shooting them yourself is not your bag.

Nutrition – Grouse is a rich source of iron, niacin, vitamin B1 and B2 and it a very low fat protein provider.

Tips – It is best to roast young birds. These are birds that are shot in their first year. They can be eaten within 24 hours, but if you prefer they can be hung for a short time – typically between 2 and 4 days, depending on the age of the bird and the weather. A plump bird (undressed weight of 700g) will feed one person – unless they are very hungry!

Preparation – Grouse has such a lovely flavour it is best not to hide it with strong flavoured sauces. It should be roasted quickly and allowed to rest briefly before serving. Traditionally Grouse is served on the rare side, but can be roasted for a little longer if that’s how you like it. Liberal basting is required to keep the meat moist or you can cover the bird with bacon. Older birds are tougher and not so good for roasting but make delicious casseroles, game stews or a fabulous ingredient in a mixed game pie.



The food of kings is now available to us all! Venison is farmed in North Yorkshire and is a most delicious, nutritious and healthy meat. The farmed meat is often more tender than venison from wild deer. The meat is unmistakable – fine textured, dark red and with very little fat on it . But remember, if you cover it with rich creamy sauces or baste it with lashings of butter you will undo all that good work. There is a wonderful choice of cuts available, so ask your local butcher or the farmers at the farmers markets, for advice on which would be the best cuts for you. With so much variety you can prepare so many different meals, from roasts to casseroles to burgers and sausages, and you might be pleasantly surprised when you compare prices with other meats such as beef.

Nutrition – High in protein, low in fat and rich in those Omega 3’s – a very healthy choice and as an added bonus, venison is also a source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12 too. Venison also has traces of iron, copper and zinc. Wow, a real wonder meat.

Tips – If you are roasting venison, cover the joint with thick strips of back bacon to avoid the meat become too dry, and do not overcook it. Roast venison should served pink. There are lots of delicious marinades you can use to flavour venison before cooking.

Preparation – Venison is so versatile there is an almost endless number of ways in which it can be prepared. Ingredients such as port, red wine, red currants and juniper berries all go well with venison and can be used to make excellent marinades or sauces.


Marrows and squashes

Spring Onions






Quince is related to the pear and resembles a lumpy pear without the neck. The fruit is yellow when ripe with flesh of various shades of yellow. When raw, the flesh is acidic, hard and not good for eating, but when cooked, it becomes sweet and delicate, providing a pear and apple flavour. The raw flesh will discolour rapidly when cut, so to preserve the raw fruit, immerse with lemon juice and refrigerate. Quince is great for making marmalades, jams, and jellies. Quince jelly, with its fruity flavour, is good to eat with cheese. Quinces will store well, up to 3 months when refrigerated.

Preparation - Almost anything that can be done with apples can be done with quinces. They need a similar length of cooking time and are delicious stewed, baked, and made into fruit butter. When baking with quinces, add sugar only after they become soft and the flesh starts to change in color from white to pink.

Tips - Peel quince before using it in jams, preserves, desserts, and savory dishes. Since quince is such a hard fruit, be sure to use a large, firm chef’s knife to cut it into halves, quarters, or slices. Peeling works well with a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife. Remove the core with a small, firm paring knife.

Quince “sauce” - Quince makes an excellent fruit sauce similar to applesauce. To prepare, peel a few quinces, slice them, and remove the seeds. Cook them in a small amount of water with plenty of sweetener of choice until they reach a pulpy consistency like applesauce. Mash or puree in a food processor and serve.

Buying and storing tips - Choose quinces that are firm with a pale yellow skin. Sometimes quinces are mottled with brown spots, but such markings do not affect their flavor or quality. Quinces that are shriveled, soft, or brown all over are no longer fresh. Since they bruise easily, quinces must be handled carefully.

If quinces are not completely ripened, store them at room temperature until they are yellow all over and give off a pleasant scent.

If you do not plan on using ripe quinces immediately, they can be wrapped in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for up to two months. Be sure to store quinces apart from apples and pears because their powerful aroma may permeate these other fruits.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli






One of the most versatile (and cheapest) vegetables around. They have a fabulous crunchy texture and are available most of the year. There are several varieties of carrots including Parisienne which is a short, stumpy carrot that has a lovely, sweet flavour and Chantenay which is more conical in shape but has a very concentrated flavour.

Nutrition - Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium; they contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, and magnesium. Cooked carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of potassium, and contain vitamin B6, copper, folic acid, and magnesium.

Tips – Carrot soups can be flavoured with orange or mint. They are also very well complimented by herbs – in salads use mint, chives, parsley, coriander or basil, or add an oil and lemon vinaigrette dressing to grated carrot for a delicious side salad. Sweet main-crop carrots make a lovely moist carrot cake, and can also be used in pies with lots of spices (similar to pumpkin). They can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a week.

Preparation – New carrots just need scrubbing before cooking, but main crop carrots will need peeling properly. Both new and maincrop carrots are delicious raw, with maincrop being especially sweet. They can be boiled, steamed or braised in stock or butter and served as an accompaniment to any main meal. They are also perfect for adding to stews, casseroles, soups etc.


Dexter Beef







Like onions, leeks and chives, garlic is a member of the lily (or allium) family. The head is comprised of 12-15 cloves, each encased in papery skin.

It's practical health benefits include lowering blood cholesterol and antiseptic properties.

There are several recipes in which garlic takes centre stage rather than a supporting flavouring role -­ perhaps most famously French chicken roast with 40 cloves of garlic. Garlic soup has a surprisingly soft sweet-savoury flavour yet uses around half a head per person.

Varieties - What most people think of as fresh garlic is actually a dried bulb. There are hundreds of varieties varying in degree of pungency, skin colour (pink, white, purple), and clove size. Fresh, 'spring' or 'wet' garlic is lifted from ground before the bulb matures and looks like a curvaceous leek.­ The green portion rising above the ground is also edible. Look for it in speciality greengrocers and farm shops in June. Elephant garlic is very large but milder than regular garlic.

Preparation - Remember that the more garlic is crushed or chopped, the stronger it will taste.

Many people find garlic presses or crushers convenient, however some claim they alter the flavour of garlic; they are also difficult to clean.

For recipes that require whole garlic cloves, you can either cut away the dry nub of the clove and peel off the skin, or (if you need many cloves) blanch the garlic in hot water, after which the skin comes off easily.

If you are serving the garlic raw, cut the clove in half and remove any central green germ as they have a powerful taste and can cause digestive problems. If green shoots are sprouting from the whole head, throw it out.











Easy to grow and widely available throughout North Yorkshire, onions have a great history and give flavour to so many dishes. Onion juice is reputed to be a good cold cure, it will certainly make people keep their distance!

Nutrition – High in vitamin C.

Tips – When you are frying onions, don’t chop them in a food processor – this releases too much moisture and the onions steam rather than fry. Also when adding onions to the stock pot, drop in a piece of the inner brown skin because this will give a lovely warm golden colour, (but beware, if you overdo it you could get a bitter taste).

Preparation – Try cooking onions slowly with red wine, raisins and herbs such as thyme or marjoram, they are delicious with a slow pot roast.
Know your onions, as the cliché goes — and it’s valuable advice. Did you know, for instance, not to add salt to onions if you want them crisp and brown, as it draws out their water and prevents them from browning? For soft, white translucent onions, add salt when you begin cooking.

To know your onions is to know that these members of the lily family also vary greatly in strength of flavour and purpose.

Red onions have a discernibly milder flavour than the papery-skinned white or brown globe onion, and so can be used for salads or antipasti and for dishes in which onions are briefly cooked. There are also sweet yellow onions with a slightly flattened bulb and a more delicate flavour, and small, white pickling onions, picked early in the season.

The russet-coloured shallot has a lovely onion-garlic flavour with more sweetness and less sting, so is ideal for vinaigrettes, salads and fast-cooked dishes.






Belonging to the lily family – which has more than 500 sub species – the shallot is a member of the Allium genus and closely related to onion, garlic, leek and chive. Its Latin name, Allium cepa aggregatum refers to its origins in Ashkalon in the Middle East. It is believed that shallots were first introduced to Europe by the crusaders back in the 11th century.

Shallots are multi-centred and have several, rather than a single, growing point. There are many different varieties of shallot grown around the world producing variation in colour, shape, size and flavour.

Here in the UK, the crop gets plenty of hours of daylight during the summer. Our farmers can therefore grow high quality ‘longer day’ varieties. These produce firm brown or red skinned round or oval shaped bulbs. These varieties have excellent storage properties.

Nutrition - With a high nutritional value, shallots are also a rich source of vitamin A, B, C and E. Low in fat, they contain just 50-60 calories per 100g. Shallots contain the flavanoid compound quercetin. Research indicates that flavanoids act as anti-oxidants. Oxidants are the most common toxic agent we encounter in our food and their effects include ageing, heart disease and cancer. Produced by complex pathways, anti-oxidants neutralise oxidants. Research suggests that quercetin could help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

Tips - When buying shallots, be sure to select firm bulbs. If a shallot feels soft, or is sprouting, it is probably not all that fresh! A good quality shallot has a dry crisp outer skin which when removed reveals an inner skin lightly tinged pink.

Shallots, like onions, can bring tears to the eyes when they are chopped! The tears are caused by volatile compounds, which are released when the bulb is cut.

The following can help prevent tears: place the shallots in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes before chopping, peel the shallots under running water, use a wet chopping board and a sharp knife.


Rainbow Trout



Brussel Sprouts


Red Cabbage


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