Seasonal May foods start to become more interesting, plentiful, colourful and diverse.
There is an array of foods that are in season in May and these are just some of our favourites. As ever, if you're out and about foraging be careful what you pick. If you're unsure - leave it! Make sure you wash all fruit and vegetables before consumption too. I recently saw a report on what can be found on fruit and veg bought at the supermarket and all I'll say is that everything gets a very thorough wash in our house!
These delicate shoots are a member of the lily family and need to be cooked and handled with care. Asparagus does not keep for long so should only be stored in the fridge for 2-4 days. To remove to woody bottom, break the spear at its natural breaking point.
Serve cooked with melted butter and Parmesan shavings. Personally, I love an Asparagus Risotto.
- also known as Chinese Chard, Chinese White Cabbage and Bok choi
This Asian vegetable is a favourite in our house. So much so, that last year we tried to grow our own. Unfortunately, the wood pigeons took rather a liking to it too and before we knew it there was little left. So take a tip from us - cover up your veggies that the birds are partial to.
The leaves are great in Asian soups and stir-fries and offer a slight mustardy back taste.
- also known as Corn Salad
There are so many different types of salad leaves, but Lamb's Lettuce delivers a unique, nutty flavour. Most frequently used raw as part of a salad, it can also be steamed and served as a vegetable.
I had to do some research as to why a lettuce is named after a small woolly sheep. The unusual name is reputedly from the lettuce's similarity to the size and shape of a lamb's tongue.
Often sidelined as a garnish, watercress is an understated, underused leaf. It's one of the most nutritious vegetables you can find - rich source of vitamins and essential minerals. The French call their watercress soup 'Potage de Santé' or healthy soup.
The leaves are distinctly peppery which comes from the mustard oil found in the plant. It adds a kick to salads so add a punch to soups, sauces and butters. It actually goes particularly well with eggs.
Basically a spring onion is simply an immature onion that if you left in the ground, it would grow to full size. They have a mild and delicate flavour. I find the leafy dark green parts of the onion the best as the taste is milder. If you're following a FODMAP diet, they recommend that you stick to eating the green part and avoiding the white flesh.
I always have a bunch in the fridge to toss into a stir fry or shred for wraps or rice paper rolls.
Still in Season ...
Rhubarb, watercress, rocket and wild garlic are still in season and rather than repeat ourselves, there's more on our post about Foods in Season in April.
Food events happening in May
There are lots of excuses to enjoy food throughout the month of May. Here are just some of the food events happening this month:
1st - 8th - Dementia UK's Time for a Cuppa Take time out with friends for a brew and a bite whilst raising a little money for a good cause. Try our Cinnamon & Nutella Muffins. Register for a fundraising pack here
9th - 15th - Coeliac Awareness Week
10th - 15th - Food Allergy Awareness Week
10th - 16th - Sugar Awareness Week
11th - Eat what you want day: no more words required.
11th - 16th - National Vegetarian Week
13th - World Cocktail Day which has to be served with an Opies Cocktail Cherry!
15th - World Whisky Day (or whiskey if we're talking about the Irish version)
13th - International Hummus Day
16th - 22nd - British Sandwich Week apparently a third of us are bored with our sandwich choice so why not pep up a panini or revolutionize a rustic roll with some new styled fillings.
17th - World Baking Day
25th - 30th - National Barbecue Week #barbiforbritain
25th - 6th June - British Tomato Fortnight
28th - International Hamburger Day: Did you know, the name "hamburger" comes from Hamburg, Germany, where it's thought 19th-century sailors brought back the idea of raw shredded beef (today's beef tartare) after trading with the Baltic provinces of Russia?
29th - National Biscuit Day: it's likely that we'll make some of our Egg Free Biscuits.
Where to buy seasonal food
Whilst supermarkets are a convenient option that sell great quality, it's important that we support small, independent retailers. So why not visit your local butcher or fishmonger? Grab a bargain from the greengrocer. Visit your local farm shop - to find out the shop closest to you, Farming UK has a list and interactive map.