A few years ago I used to be on the BCC [the British Community Council] here in Istanbul. Our mission was varied but one of my particular tasks was to write the Culinary Corner for the monthly e-Newsletter.
Simultaneously, on my blog I had a little box in the sidebar where I would post what fruit,veg and fish to expect each month. Each season has its highs and its lows; Seasonal Cook that I am, I'm interested in the rhythm of the markets which reflect those, and I'm sure you are too.
|the fishing ban has been lifted and now is the time for palamut/bonito - they|
should be firm to the touch and shiny to look at
So here I'm combining the two ideas: at the end of every month I'll post what's in season in the local street markets of Istanbul or Assos, where we frequently go, along with some photos.
|it's hamsi time again! These are anchovies from the Black Sea|
Today I went to my weekly local pazar in Selami Çeşme, wondering whether the summer produce would have disappeared. But in fact, what I saw reflects perfectly the end of summer/ beginning of autumn and everything is still available!
By 'everything', I mean the very summery vegetables like aubergine, green peppers, and courgettes, barbunya or borlotti beans, and loads of green beans. Sadly the beautiful Çanakkale tomatoes have finished and we are back to the more regimented kind that look greenhouse-grown. Personally I recommend the little baby ones as they have the most flavour. These are good for salads and kahvaltı/breakfast but not of course for cooking. This is the time when a little tomato paste starts to come in handy to boost the taste in tomato-based dishes. For cooking, there's nothing wrong with a tin of chopped tomatoes as they will have been canned at the height of the season.
|this is one of my regular guys and his tomatoes are still looking OK - he thinks they are, at any rate!|
|these are the very last of the borlotti beans though: make sure you buy some, pod them and freeze in plastic bags|
What is absolutely in right now is grapes/üzüm: sweet yellow seedless ones and big juicy purple and green ones. Now is the time for plums/erik too, several varieties are available and perfect for eating as well as cooking! Think tarts and crumbles!
|ince kabuk means thin-shelled! The sign says 'they have arrived!'|
|good for diabetes, heart, liver, cholesterol ....so says the sign!|
Now, two much more autumn/winter fruits were on sale today but it's far too early for them to be interesting. I would say again, wait a few weeks at least so they can ripen: pomegranates/nar and persimmons/hurma.
|the colour isn't right: wait till they become more vibrantly orange|
Karadeniz means Black Sea
By the way, keep away from figs: you will see them on the stalls but don't be tempted. The season is over and they are tasteless.