Autumn Tip of the Term

With Autumn now upon us and harvest in full swing there is an abundance of brilliant produce available for creating some amazing dishes with.

Food for Life Awards Programme Manager Siân Creagh-Osborne shares her tips on making the most of seasonal produce.

Sian C ONow, I’m a Cornish girl through and through and that means Autumn for me is about 2 things; harvesting apples and blackberrying! I’m not sure there are two finer British ingredients that work together so well.

I’m a firm believer that Blackberries are best when foraged. Part of the joy is having a rummage in hedgerows, risking the scratches to reach for the really juicy fruits. Why not explore around your school's grounds to see if you have any blackberry spots. (You may need to carry out a risk assessment for this.) If you end up with too many then you can always freeze them for later in the year.

If you’re not lucky enough to have apples growing onsite then why not do a shout out to parents asking them to bring in spare fruit from trees they might have growing at home. This is a great way to get parents involved and also collect a real mix of apples. Did you know that there are thousand's of varieties of apples that grow in Britain? You could even run a school project identifying and counting the different types that are donated.

Click here for my really quick Blackberry and Apple Crumble recipe, with an optional family twist thrown in. Don’t worry if you can’t find enough blackberries – you can use a pear, peach or nectarine instead. Before you start, why not watch our Skills Snippets videos to learn how to chop fruit safely. FFL enrolled schools and nurseries can find them in their portals.

Another seasonal favourite of mine is the pumpkin. Some of you may have these growing in your school gardens already, but if not there will be plenty available locally in the lead up to Halloween.

Pumpkins are not only great fun to carve (check out these amazing works of pumpkin art ) but the flesh is also a brilliantly versatile ingredient that’s great in cakes and pies, as well as salads and soups.

I love this delicious roast pumpkin, feta and spinach salad from Cook School Fresh. Why not give it a go?

Cooking your way to your next award

Don’t forget that by cooking with home-grown and seasonal produce you are meeting both our schools and early years award criteria, helping you on your way to achieving your award!


Cooking seasonally could help you meet the following criteria: 

  • B3.1 Our pupils take part in regular curriculum cooking activities and this is linked to our whole school approach to food
  • S3.0 We have established a cooking club and our pupils are cooking with seasonal, local and organic ingredients
  • S3.2 We have produce from our school garden available at least once a term for pupils to eat or cook with
  • G3.0 We are committed to providing a minimum of 12 hours cooking lessons a year for all our pupils up to the age of 14

For more information, download the Bronze Award Criteria and Guidance here and the  Silver and Gold Criteria and Guidance here


Cooking with seasonal ingredients could help you meet the following criteria: 

  • 2.8 We present our food attractively and encourage children to develop an interest and enjoyment of food through stimulating their senses
  • 3.1 We grow food with the children using safe organic methods and give them an opportunity to eat fruit, vegetables and herbs they have grown
  • 3.2 We provide cooking sessions for children that promote healthy recipes with fruit and vegetables, including those we have grown
  • 4.2 We take every opportunity to encourage children and families to taste and talk about a variety of foods, including seasonal fruit and vegetables

For more information, download the criteria overview here.


in Food for Life schools eat around a third more fruit and vegetables than pupils in comparison schools, and significantly more fruit and vegetables at home.

Criteria and Guidance

Download the Bronze Food for Life Schools Award Criteria and Guidance here and the Silver and Gold Food for Life Schools Award Criteria and Guidance here

Criteria and guidance

Silver and Gold criteria and guidance

Download the Food for Life Early Years award Criteria overview here.

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