PubChef's guide to what's in season in July
Aubergine - otherwise known as the eggplant, the aubergine is actually a fruit. It has a pronounced flavour and is widely used in Eastern and Mediterranean cookery. Aubergine can be eaten hot or cold. Stuffed, as fritters, puréed or as an ingredient in moussaka and ratatouille, it is a versatile cooking ingredient. Aubergine has a low calorific value and is rich in potassium and calcium. Choose fruit that feel heavy and have unblemished skins and fleshy stalks.
Blueberries - an American favourite, the blueberry is related to the bilberry and has a sweet taste. Found wild but more commonly cultivated, the berries can be used in compotes and pies. When selecting the fruit, avoid reddish berries, which are not ripe. Sometimes the berries change colour when cooked - acids, such as lemon juice and vinegar, cause the blue pigment to turn reddish.
Clams - a type of shellfish found in coastal waters all around the world. Clam flesh is firmer than that of mussels or oysters, although the smaller varieties are prepared and cooked in much the same way. They can also be eaten raw. Larger clams, which tend to have a more intense flavour, should be oven baked for a few minutes and then the flesh removed. Clam chowder is an obvious choice although the clam can also be successfully combined with pork or linguine and is an essential ingredient of paella.
Trout - a member of the salmon family, the trout is found in fresh water but is also bred on a large scale in farms. While brown trout is indigenous to the UK and was the first fish to be farmed here, the majority of today's farmers produce rainbow trout, which was introduced from North America. Low in fat and a good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A and B, trout is an oily fish that is high in the recommended Omega-3. Look for fish with a silvery or golden sheen to the skin. The flesh should be firm and elastic to the touch with a fresh sweet smell. A versatile ingredient, trout is quick and simple to cook. Stuffed trout is always popular, as is smoked trout pâté.