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