As the Leaves Change…
Next week, 22nd September, marks the Autumn Equinox: the official start of autumn. It’s also the time of year, along with the Spring Equinox, when there are as many hours of daylight as there are as darkness. We’re going to cover some facts about autumn – the season, harvest time and some of the traditions carried out during this time of year. Then we’ll go on to include a few autumn recipes you can try at home.
A Chill in the Air
Autumn might bring with it a drop-in temperature but it also marks the transitional time when leaves start to change colour on trees. Leaf Peeping is the name given to the activity of watching out for the colour changes seen on trees. Leaf Peepers record that native British species such as dogwood and the common spindle are the first to change – followed soon by maples, rowans and ironwoods.
In London, nature focused druids meet at Primrose Hill to mark the occasion – dressing in long white robes and singing hymns. The annual event was banned for a long time and carried out in secret but in 1717, the ban was lifted and for the past 300 years the event has occurred openly.
Celebrating the Harvest Moon is another autumnal tradition in Britain, this is the name given to the full moon nearest the autumn equinox – signifying that it is time to harvest crops. This year it occurred on 6th September, though in some years it can occur in October.
Autumn is traditionally a time when food becomes plentiful from the harvest, it’s also a time when people usually start to cook heartier food to keep them warm.
· Autumn is a great time for foraging for mushrooms and whilst we wouldn’t recommend it yourself, due to the many poisonous species out there – a great way to get involved is by trying this cheesy mushroom recipe.
· Chestnuts are another common autumnal treat – this salad combines different flavours of autumn, including chestnuts, to create this substantial salad.
· Whilst pumpkins might more commonly be associated with carving at Halloween time – they are also a lovely earthy and rich autumnal cooking ingredient – try out this pumpkin soup recipe to add a splash of orange to your evening as the nights draw in.