Kitchen Tips

Produce Guide: What's in season this October

Enjoy the freshest, cheapest and most nutritious fruit and vegetables this month, thanks to our helpful produce guide. Find out what is in season this October, and what recipes will bring out the best in each seasonal star.

By Harriet Keown

1. Capsicum

Whether you prefer red, orange, yellow or green, brightly-coloured capsicums are the best way to add a juicy crunch to your salads this October. But the real magic of these vibrant vegetables comes when they are gently roasted or cooked within dishes - not only are they extra delicious served this way, but your body can also get more nutrients from capsicum when it's cooked! Try it in this flavoursome citrus baked chicken dish or in our smoky vegetable paella to really appreciate the goodness of cooked peppers. For more taste sensations, whip up this capsicum chutney for a gorgeous condiment, or let it be the star of the show in this recipe for meatless Mexican stuffed peppers.

2. Strawberry

These red bursts of sweetness are one of the best things to bloom in October, with every bite being a reminder that summer really is on its way. While strawberries are perfect just the way they are, especially when plucked from the garden and popped straight into your mouth, they really shine when used to jazz up a dessert. This strawberry, rhubarb and almond tart is a heavenly idea for a sweet treat, and our labne cheesecake with ruby fruit salad makes a gorgeous centrepiece for a special-occasion dessert. Keep things a little more simple with our lemon yoghurt parfait and strawberry compote, or try something new by chopping the fruit into this savoury strawberry salad - the mixture of sweet, sour and salty is simply irresistible!

3. Peas

The days of freezers overflowing with bags of frozen peas are finally over, because we can now enjoy these wee green pearls fresh out of the pod! Enjoy the sweet popping sensation as a convenient raw snack, or mix them into delicious spring salads such as this pea, mint and roasted almond recipe. You could also give our stir-fried prawns with snow peas and baby corn a go, or try this tasty chicken and sugar snap pea pasta for a simple dinner. Finally, opt for a bit of gourmet goodness with our French pea and spring onion tart recipe, which is wonderfully cheesy and deceptively simple.

4. Tomato

While canned tomatoes make a fantastic base for dishes all year round, October is a great time to experiment with fresh tomatoes while they are delicious and plentiful. We love letting the sweet, vegetable-like fruit shine in our tomato and smoked cheese tart, and matching it with soft and pillowy gnocchi in this gorgeous recipe. Nici Wickes' mini tomato, thyme and marjoram tarts are another tasty idea for using up tomatoes, which are ideal for handing around at cocktail hour! And you can never go wrong with chopping them into in this peach and asparagus Caprese salad, which goes beautifully with our homemade pistachio and mint pesto.

5. Watercress

Get a healthy dose of greenery this month by adding watercress to your dishes, which provides a fantastic peppery flavour similar to mustard and wasabi. Try this punchy vegetable in salads such as this baby beetroot, green lentil and hazelnut mixture, or as a healthy side for meat dishes like our garlic herbed beef with kohlrabi remoulade. Watercress also pairs perfectly with eggs in these finger sandwiches, which would be perfect for a sophisticated tea party, or try it as a distinctive garnish on these ricotta, prosciutto and artichoke tarts for a light and tasty meal.

6. Chives

From the same family as onion, leek and garlic, chives lend their delicate onion-like flavour to a wide variety of spring dishes. Learn how to make your own version of the crowd-favourite pork and chive dumplings, or use the herb to brighten up these ham and chive fritters. Our parmesan and chive waffles are another fantastic use of the fresh and aromatic taste that chives can bring to the table, or you could go all-out with this deliciously fragrant bacon, chive and potato quiche - it's fabulous for a lush and hearty dinner or an easy lunch-box filler.