Want to know what’s in season in August? Looking for August recipe ideas? Use tender green beans, refreshing cucumber and juicy, tart blackberries from your local greengrocer to make these seasonal dishes and bakes. We’ve included plenty of tips for how to shop for particular varieties, prepping guides and useful ideas to use up leftovers.

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After, check out our best September recipes, October recipes and November recipes.


Blackberries

Blackberries grow wild throughout the UK and most of Europe. These sweet yet tart berries are great for making jams and jellies or using in bakes, as their slightly sharp note can be balanced by sugar. For something different, try muddling them into gin cocktails, adding to goat’s cheese salads or blending them into smoothies.

Lemon blackberry cake

This beautifully light, summery bake combines tart blackberries and lemon with a hint of sweetness from icing sugar. It's great with a drizzle of cream or ice cream, too.

Lemon and blackberry cake

Tomatoes

All tomatoes originate from South and Central America, and were brought to Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish. Since then they’ve become the cornerstone of many European and Asian cuisines. Try making your own tomato passata if you have a glut of homegrown fruits – perfect for any split, damaged or bruised fruits that don’t make it to the table.


Watermelon

One of the juiciest of all fruits with crisp, sweet flesh and a refreshing flavour, it’s no wonder watermelons are synonymous with the height of summer. Slice into salads with chilli dressings, serve on cocktail sticks with feta as a canapé, or freeze into sorbets and granitas for instant refreshments from the freezer.

Watermelon sorbet

The sweet, crisp flesh and refreshing flavour of watermelon makes this sorbet the perfect palate cleanser at summer dinner parties. It's also a great base for watermelon margaritas – just add tequila.

A silver dessert cup filled with scoops of red sorbet on a white napkin

Swiss chard

This leafy green veg brings a pop of colour to the table with its rainbow stems. Its flavour is similar to spinach but with larger stems. Cook the stems for a few minutes before adding the leaves in one-pots such as curries and stews, or steam with the sliced stems at the bottom of the steamer with the greens laid on top, as they need a little more cooking.


Green beans

Green beans are the young pods of the common bean – also known as french beans (haricot vert) – and have a sweet, mild flavour and tender texture. Simply steam and butter them for an easy side dish, or try finely chopping them and mixing with chillies, shallots and olive oil for a quick salsa for tacos or fish. Alternatively, char them on a hot griddle pan or barbecue before dunking into a romesco dip.

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Green bean curry

This is a perfect main or part of a spread, adapted from Laxmi Khurana’s An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book. You can use frozen beans, but use fresh while they're at their best in the summer to add crunch

a metal pan containing green beans and tomato with a bowl of rice on a stone background

Cucumbers

From ‘smashed’ cucumber salad, to tzatziki and Pimm’s cocktails, cucumbers are hugely versatile, with refreshing flavour and juicy texture. Try stir-frying with sichuan pepper, bashing into chunky pieces to fold through a vinegary dressing, or thinly slicing to layer into soft cheese and chive sandwiches. Cucumber doesn’t last long once cut, so pickle slices if you won’t use it all or fold into a raita, which will keep for several days.

Feta and cucumber salad with dill dressing

Ridged cucumbers have a stronger flavour than the regular variety and firmer flesh. They stand up perfectly here to the olives and feta – a combo inspired by the flavours of Greek salad and tzatziki.

A white platter filled with ribboned cucumber, chopped black olives and crumbled feta on a stone background with a silver serving spoon

Basil

It’s not just for caprese salads and pizza – basil has a floral, aromatic scent that can transport you to sunny climes with just one whiff. There are a few varieties of basil, including greek, thai, cinnamon, lemon, sweet and holy. Sweet basil is the most common in the UK, with its soft, delicate leaves, and its versatility makes it popular – blend it into pesto, tear into green salads or scatter over red fruit pavlovas. When cooked into sauces, it releases subtle flavour and aroma: try adding a handful to tomato sauce before simmering, rather than at the end.

Courgette, brown butter and basil gnocchi

Inspired by a piccata, this lemon and butter sauce is made even better with the addition of aromatic basil. It works well with pasta as well as gnocchi, and is just as great with ricotta instead of pecorino if you want to keep it vegetarian.

Two bowls of gnocchi on a table garnished with basil and grated cheese

Blackberries

Blackberries grow wild throughout the UK and most of Europe, and are notorious for their long, spiky brambles. These sweet yet tart berries are great for making jams and jellies or using in bakes, as their slightly sharp notes can be balanced by sugar. For something different, try pickling them and serving with cheeses or the duck recipe below.


Blackberry baked oats

Make the most of tart, juicy blackberries in this easy oat bake that's perfect for breakfast or dessert.

Blackberry baked oats in a tray

Blackberry muffins

Sweet but tart blackberries are in season in the summer – put them to work in these cornbread muffins, which make for a great brunch or mid-morning snack

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A broken muffin on a stoneware plate next to a fork and a muffin tin

Duck breast with blackberries and beetroot

These sweet berries grow all over the UK, and are often used in jams and bakes. We love them paired with duck though – their tart flavour really complements the rich meat.

A cast iron pan with two sliced duck breasts surrounded by blackberries and chopped beetroot

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Anna GloverSenior food editor

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