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Reasons to love the first days of autumn

Reasons to love the first days of autumn

With the warm weather we’ve had so far this September, it feels like we’re only just getting into early autumn proper. But while it may herald summer’s finale, this is a time of year that will always have plenty to charm us. In fact, it’s one of our favourite ‘micro seasons’. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

Early autumn temperatures are just right

Clement, but not too hot. The sun is now comfortably warm, and shadows start to lengthen, creating a wonderfully mellow light. This is the best season to take early morning walks, while dew still lingers on the grass and soft mists make a romantic picture of the landscape. The last of the long evenings seem so much more precious for being few in number, so think of inventive ways to make the most of your outdoor space, such as a feast on Michaelmas Day, on the 29th of September (in olden times, Michaelmas feasts were held to bring prosperity for the coming year).

It’s the season to go foraging for nuts and berries

Woodlands and hedgerows are full of blackberries and hazelnuts, and old-fashioned wild ingredients like damsons, sloes, rose hips and elderberries are also in season. Take a tub or two on country walks and bring things home for culinary adventures – just remember to leave enough behind for wildlife.

Foraged or not, autumn fruit is now ripe for preserving and baking

The first apple pie or blackberry crumble of the season is always a cause for celebration, and the scent of baking around the house brings the sense of cosiness that we crave at this time of year, particularly on one of September or October’s drabber days. On warmer afternoons though, seasonal fruits like figs and blackberries make great additions to salads, but keen cooks can use them to prepare jams and chutneys for their winter larders too. The season of the harvest festival brings a host of celebratory food festivals and markets to autumn months, at which to seek out seasonal ingredients.

Our minds are turning to home comforts

And we’re not feeling the least bit guilty about it. There’s bound to be at least one September or October day where you think about lighting the fire for the first time, curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and a cashmere throw or lighting a scented candle on a dusky evening. All are simple pleasures that make us happier about the onset of autumn.

Nature is a riot of colour

Which means it’s time to try a little of what the Americans call ‘leaf peeping’. This means observing the rapid changes in autumn foliage – from yellow to fiery red and earthy brown (the drier the weather, the redder the leaves will go). Whether you do this at an arboretum, in a nearby woodland or simply in your local park, it will put you back in tune with the season and you’ll return home with lots of colour inspiration.

Tags: Features