Living Seasonally: September

Image: Aaron Burden

Image: Aaron Burden

September is all about...

harvests, back to school, the return of porridge for breakfast, collecting pine cones, apples with everything, leaves turning colour, blackberries and crisp early mornings.

Something to eat:

September is the fruitful month. Full of almost-full-size squashes, apples picked straight from the tree, hearty homemade pies and soups galore, it marks a change in what we eat as the new season begins. The salads of summer are not completely gone, but sausages and roasted vegetables are much more likely to appear than salads and barbecues for dinner, and although they take longer to cook, the rewards are always worth the extra time. This month also showcases the best of the hedgerow. In place of the elderflowers arrive the elderberries, ripe for turning into a fruity wine. Or why not try your hand at jam making if there are blackberries still lingering between the branches? Leeks are also making an appearance this month, and are delicious in a vegetable gratin: lightly fry, then add to a dish with part-boiled potatoes and smother with a cheese sauce, remembering to top with breadcrumbs and pumpkin seeds before heating through in the oven. Finish with a plum crumble, and you’ve got seasonal autumn dining at its best.

Something to visit:

Make the most of the British countryside and explore somewhere new for free from the 13th to the 22nd of September. Heritage Open Days offer the chance to visit manor houses, churches, museums and more all over the country. If you're in Lincolnshire try the National Trust's Belton House or the medieval Gainsborough Old Hall.

Something to celebrate:

The Autumn Equinox. Rejoice in the knowledge that we've made it through three-quarters of the year by visiting Stonehenge on the 22nd/23rd to see the sunrise above the stones. At this moment the day and night are equal in length and winter nights lie ahead bringing with them a loss of the early autumn heat that lingered as a memory of summer. If you can't make it to Wiltshire, follow tradition by drinking dandelion and burdock to cleanse the blood or have a second harvest celebration as the last of the crops are stored away.

Something a bit different:

Pack a picnic and a jumper and blow away the cobwebs with a visit to the beach. Who says that sea and sand have to remain summer's domain? If you go between the 20th and 23rd of the month then you could also do your bit for the environment by taking part in the Great British Beach Clean; find out more here.