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What's in season - February

Cabbages are at their best at this time of year, with many varieties to choose from. There's the wrinkly dark green Savoy Cabbage, Spring Greens and the complex, decorative 2,000-year-old Roman favourite - Curly Kale.

Japanese Artichokes (Crosnes) are a rarely seen vegetable with an earthy taste and will be available until mid-month. Another underrated vegetable, the root Salsify from Belgium, is at its peak during February, and is rich in fibre with a delicate flavour that will remind you of Asparagus. It can however discolour rapidly when peeled. Talking of Asparagus, this line will be dominated by imports from Peru - with the trend moving away from large sizes and more towards a medium sized spear.

Spanish Broccoli is at its best at this time of year, as are Courgettes. Celeriac, an interesting root, is also available and good quality at this time of year and can be purchased prepared in either a turned or batoned variety.

Another line that is growing in popularity is Sugar Snaps. Fine Beans from Zambia and Mangetout are very good value throughout this period.

Spanish Strawberries are widely available this month, making them very cheap. They are also very large, although their sugar levels can fluctuate. Raspberries from Spain are excellent value now. However, Redcurrants will need very deep pockets! Fresh Water Chestnuts peak at this time of year.

Citrus fruits will be entering a difficult time, with Satsumas being very difficult to find. Better to stick to Clementines for the early part of the month and then as they leave the market, why not try Fortunas? Lychees will also continue to fall in price whilst the quality remains very good.

Looking forward to Valentine's Day, many exotic fruits will be available - such as Granadilla, Golden and most common Purple Passionfruit varieties - an ideal complement to a Melon or Mango dish. We also sell all flavours of Puree - including Passionfruit - in frozen and ambient varieties all year round. For something with a slightly more gentle flavour, the orange-fleshed Canteline Melon, Ruby Grapefruit or Rhubarb offer a palette of colour to use in your dishes. Grapefruit in particular is at its best at this time of year.

Lettuces from the South of France, such as Lollo Rosso and Lollo Bionda will be improving in quality and will soon be replaced by lines from Northern France.

New in at the vegetable markets at this time will be Artichokes, Asparagus and Radishes - with Brussels Sprouts bowing out.

And finally, Chicory is excellent value at the moment and can be roasted or braised. This does not however include the Red Chicory variety, which remains expensive. Radicchio will also be increasing in price as the season changes.

 

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