A plan for all seasons | Food

Summer is nearly upon us. I still feel cheated after last year’s supposed-to-be-summer, so I truly, madly, deeply hope that this summer will grant us sun, warmth and beach days in abundance. Nothing beats the amazing flavour of a newly-harvested Danish strawberry that has been soaking up sun since spring and has been watered properly … okay, maybe if you’re actually in a strawberry field picking your own berries and munching while picking.

Hostage to the weather


Most of the fruit and vegetables we have here in Denmark are dependent on the weather (good luck farmers). If the rain is pouring the entire spring, and the sun-rays rarely hit the soil, the strawberries (let’s continue with that example) won’t have the best conditions to grow and develop their amazing flavour. And their sales period won’t be more than three weeks long. But if the tasty berries get the right conditions, the harvest duration can last for months.


May the good things grow


Now, let’s take a look at some of the other amazing Danish summer fruit and veggies, month by month, as they come into season. In May you should opt for cucumbers, baby leaves, (baby) spinach, spring onions, new garlic, pak choy, radishes, rocket salad and, my personal favourites, strawberries and rhubarb. The strawberries might be late though. It all depends on the sun, and how the sun has chosen to present spring to us this year.


The joy that is June


June offers us green and white asparagus, fennel, broccoli, summer cabbage, parsley, mushrooms, plums, tomatoes, gooseberries, raspberries and lettuce. And please note – the season for the May veggies continues. My shout out for June specials goes to new potatoes, peas, carrots (with the green tops) and – last but not least: asparagus.


Sensuous asparagus 


The asparagus is strictly a one-month appearance vegetable. Indulge in them while you can! Eat the greens fresh and raw in a salad, and steam the whites and enjoy them with a nob of butter on the top. (I know it’s close to illegal to even mention butter during the bikini season. But TRY it! Really, it’s way too good to miss.)


Best to try in July


July is the month to enjoy celery, cauliflowers, turnips and courgettes. Continue buying broccoli, fennel, carrots (green tops), summer cabbage, new potatoes, radishes and tomatoes. And make room in your shopping basket for my July favourites: cherries, blackcurrants and redcurrants.


August – a first taste of autumn


August is the month for carrots, leeks and red cabbage – a taste of autumn. Green beans and corn are also worth seeking out. But don’t despair, summer isn’t over. Still in season are celery, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, summer cabbage, new potatoes, radishes, courgettes and tomatoes. And don’t forget that cucumbers, baby leaves, pak choy, rocket salad and lettuce remain in season all summer.


Chance your arm at the farm


Remember that everything is dependent on the weather. Ask your local greengrocer and keep an eye on the prices. The very first new potatoes and berries always cost a fortune, but the prices soon go down. And don’t restrict your shopping to the supermarket. They might get fresh deliveries every day, but nothing beats the local farm. Items like fresh peas, berries, potatoes, rhubarb – you’ll be hard pushed finding these in the cities. Remember, Denmark is a nation of farmers, so you won’t have to go far outside the city to find a farm shop. You might even get to pick your own.


Reasons to be seasonal


If you eat according to the season, you’ll enjoy a more flavoursome and nutritious experience. As a bonus it’s cheaper for you and better for our environment. What’s not to love? So go and soak up all the vitamins and minerals from the freshly harvested fruits and vegetables (remember in organic fruits and greens, the vitamin and mineral contents are higher than the non-organic versions), save some money and, if you please, get out and harvest your own. Enjoy the unpredictable, yet hopefully warm and sunny Danish summer, and no matter what, promise yourself you’ll taste it. I guarantee you’ll love it. 


A self-confessed “food passionist and organic geek since forever”, is the assistant manager at BioMio, Copenhagen’s best known and biggest organic eatery. Founded in 2009 , and located on the always interesting Halmtorvet just outside the vibrant Kødbyen, its finger is on the pulse of what Copenhageners want on their plates: seasonal fare straight from the source with nothing in between. 


For four weeks at a time, four times a year, our aim is to give you all the seasonal lifestyle advice you need to thrive in the areas of gardening, health, food and sport. When should you plant your petunias, when does the birch pollen season normally start, which week do the home-grown strawberries take over the supermarket, and which outdoor sports can you play in the snow? All the answers are here in ‘A plan for all seasons’.


Other articles in this series

Gardening, with Toby MusgraveHealth, with Caroline Cain