Tom Parker Bowles’s guide to eating seasonally: British produce to try in July

It’s never been a better time to back home producers, halt this country’s decline in self-sufficiency and live the good life. Tom Parker Bowles details how to ‘eat British’ in the month of July.

July is truly bounteous – the pinnacle of the homegrown season. French beans flourish, the tomatoes and courgettes are starting to ripen and colour, along with the first of the currants, early apricots, Dorset blueberries and Kentish cherries. Even the first polytunnel peaches.

There are also lots of green leaves, from lettuce to purslane. Get them before the slugs do and don’t forget those divine Scottish girolles either.

It’s barbecue time, too, perfect for Glenarm sirloin steaks from Northern Ireland or Cotswold wagyu, beautifully marbled.

A few smoked eels never go amiss, from Severn & Wye, Brown and Forrest or Loch Neagh in Northern Ireland. Eat with a blob of horseradish or mix into a salad with crisp smoked Wiltshire bacon.

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Crabs are fat and heavy with meat, found from Scottish waters, down through Norfolk and Suffolk and on to the South and South-West.

And don’t miss the spider crabs, down in the South and West. It’s fiddly work, extracting every strand, but well worth the effort.

Or lobsters, great basic brutes that they are. I still prefer crab, but I’m in the minority. Boil them whole or split them, paint with butter, and throw onto the grill.

And of course they’re best washed down with a sparkling wine from Nyetimber or Chapel Down.

July recipes to try


How to enjoy spider crab

Don't be put off by the spider crab's Martian-like glare. The spiky shellfish are delicious and should be far higher