It’s that time of year! Barbecues are being brought out of the garage and cleaned and salads are making appearances at the dinner table. Use local produce and fruits and vegetables in season in May for the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to eat.
Vegetables in season in May
Britain arguably produces the best asparagus but its season is short. Asparagus is available now so take advantage with this delicately but distinctively flavoured vegetable which is so delicious in all sorts of foods – soups, salads, with pasta or even just grilled on the barbecue. You can eat asparagus for breakfast, dunking it into soft boiled eggs as a healthier alternative to soldiers, or serve on toast with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for brunch.
New potatoes are in season now, just in time for potato salad to go with the year’s first barbecues.
Summer radishes are sweet and delicate, with a gentler flavour than larger varieties. If you planted your own radishes last month, you may have a few ready to eat now. Remove the lafy tops before storing for up to five days in the fridge. Similarly, early spring onions can be seen in the shops or in your garden if the weather has been mild enough. This versatile vegetable works so well with ginger to make the basis of a number of Oriental dishes.
There are plenty of young leaves in season in May which make great cut and come again crops, such as loose leaf lettuces and young, tender spinach. Oriental leaves such as mizuna are great just now with young, tender leaves to bling up your salads.
Spring cabbages will be running out about now so eat any remaining or cook and freeze if you have a glut, as summer varieties won’t be ready for another month or so yet.
Fruits in season in May
There are plenty of berries on the way, but for now it’s all about the rhubarb. Like asparagus, rhubarb is a thoroughly British delight and an extremely versatile. Not only does it make the most wonderful crumble ever, its tartness contrasts magnificently with the sweetness of meringue in a Pavlova and makes a fabulous alternative to strawberries when used with cream in a Victoria sponge.
If you run out of rhubarb ideas, May is also a good month for gooseberries and kiwi fruits.