What's in season: December

Pears are delicious this time of year

Pears are delicious this time of year

The end of the calendar year is here again and households across the country are gearing up for another Christmas.

Food shopping reaches almost fever pitch at this time of the year - with people stocking up for a season of feasting and partying. But how can you limit the food miles in your shopping basket, and guarantee a top taste?

Juicy pears

The sprouts have been boiling away for some time now, so we turn our thoughts towards pears. The most famous festive pear is probably that pear tree that the partridge sat in.

What else is there to know about this juicy fruit?

  • There are over 5,000 varieties of pears growing in the world
  • Pear trees were prized by the Greeks - even getting a name check in Homer's 'Odyssey'
  • Nearly everyone can eat pears as they are one of the least allergenic of all fruits

Also in season
Most of a traditional Christmas dinner trimmings can be found locally, with plenty of favourites like sprouts still available for harvesting this month. Here are some of the highlights...

Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, white cabbage, savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks and potatoes.

Jobs for the garden
There's not a huge amount to be doing this month. When you can, it is worth continuing digging over your soil, and of course taking care of your more delicate plants to ensure that the frosts don't get to them. Keep adding those fallen leaves to your compost heap, then head somewhere warm with a cup of tea and a seed catalogue and plan the year ahead.

After Christmas, it is traditional to start chitting your early spuds and kick off your onions, but these can wait until later without any problems.

What's in season: January