In our pagan past, autumn signalled the end of the year.
The sun hung lower in the sky, nights drew in, leaves changed, and the last harvests of the year took place before the quiet cold of winter – the dead months.
Last year we covered 5 ways you can bring autumn into your kitchen, but here’s a little follow up with a few more ideas. Autumn does not have to be cold, it can be warm and comforting.
Time to Start Thinking of Your Comfort Foods
On the old calendar it was not autumn nor was it fall, which was what we said before we said autumn, in actual fact the season was called harvest. The last fruits of the year, autumn berries mixed with apples and pears could be turned into pies, tarts, and crumbles. If stored well they can last for weeks without going off.
Autumn is the time for comfort food. While locally harvested root vegetables are first plucked from the ground, it’s time to start making roast dinners again, to make pies, savoury stews, curries, and soups. If you grow your own vegetables now’s the time to think about storage. If stored in a good, cool, and dry place, root vegetables will last the winter. Just keep them away from onions (and their kith) and fruit which can make them sprout a lot faster.
Make Some Pickles and Preserves
Again going back to the olden days, it was a time to salt meat ready for the winter months – some animals would be slaughtered and some kept in the house as central heating (the smell must’ve been horrific). We don’t need to do that though you’re more than welcome to salt and smoke meat as you wish.
As above, those products which do not last, can also be preserved in other ways. One of the great summer and autumn activities is turning seasonal vegetables and fruits into pickles and preserves. You just need the food item to be preserved, sugar, vinegar (for the pickles only), and boiling water. Whether it’s a pickle or a jam/preserve or even curd, you can preserve them in sealable jars.
Quick tip for pickles – add an aromatic like peppercorns, bay leaves, or mustard seeds
Time for the Autumn Turnaround
As we are kitchen designers, it would be remiss of us to not cover some kind of design element. While having root veg in the pantry, perhaps with some cured meat, and jars of pickles and preserves is an excellent, autumnal decor, you can do more. Change over to more autumnal colours – think earthy, warm colours like natural woods, copper, burnt orange, and a little red. A good gauge is the turning colours of leaves around you for it is they, if anything, which govern the palette of our local autumns.
Add seasonal touches too. Wicker basket, iron pots and griddles, earthenware, autumn vegetables, berries, and nuts. Bring in warm curtains, cushions, and candles. In autumn and winter the kitchen becomes a social area, a good place to keep warm, and eat or cook together. These flourishes help make it feel like a welcoming, warm place.