October-November 2014: Istanbul
|Heybeliada pazarı, last Wednesday|
Now, in this picture there is only one clue that we are now in October and that is the mushrooms. With all the other produce, you could easily think it was summer. What do we see here: courgettes, aubergines, okra or ladies’ fingers, tomatoes, cucumbers – it is quite remarkable to see them on the market stalls in October. But rest assured, it is the end of them!
So it is getting quite confusing to track down what is truly seasonal. I only know because I have lived here such a long time, way before markets became interesting at all.
There is no way I am going to buy the vegetables that I have just listed above even though they look completely fine. It is just the wrong time of year for them.
Here’s what you should be looking for:
|persimmons and pears|
|pumpkin – right in time for Hallowe’en|
|here come the root vegetables: celeriac|
|çintar mushrooms which look quite evil but are OK|
And yesterday I went to the market in Selami Çeşme, my local market, which I almost always go to instead of the supermarkets around. True, I do have my guy on the corner who always has lovely fresh stuff in extremis. It’s just that I like the markets.
It was the same story: the market was bursting with produce and if you were a newcomer, you would be forgiven for thinking that it was an amazing paradise for fresh vegetables of all sorts.
|citrus fruits make their entrance around now: mandarines but not the time for oranges|
I bought a lot of stuff as I really had nothing in the fridge after my recent travels, including cauliflower and a red cabbage, both newcomers on the seasonal front. Oh I also bought some lovely small beetroots – I am a bit confused myself as to beetroots as you see them on and off throughout the year but these really did look appetising and I happen to love them.
I even saw barbunya/borlotti beans and figs! Not to mention red peppers. I know they are tempting and who knows, I may change my tune.
|the time to buy them is August|
But now you can see pomegranates appearing in all their glory. In Eminönü you will see little barrows offering glasses of their ruby red juice for 1 TL per glass. I recommend you get it mixed with the juice of 1 orange just to dilute the sourness because, let’s face it, it’s still very early.
And of course this month sees the grand re-entry of the ayva or quince, which will be around for some time now.
|they look beautiful: the sign says Real Bread Quince! i.e. can be eaten raw|