what's in season: may

a little spring saxifraga
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly
(traditional English rhyme)

Another year and yet again April definitely lived up to its reputation as a cruel month!

Having said that, I awoke this morning on the first of May to bright sunshine. And a hey nonny no. We can only hope that it lasts!
But dear god, the April weather was awful, which means that another year's fruit and vegetable production will be affected by the changeable and capricious weather conditions.
So while the winter crops are coming to an end, with stores of fruit and vegetables are dwindling, hopefully British seasonal produce will be beginning to come into their own . . . weather permitting.

Let's give a big cheer for glorious British asparagus, a very short but sweet season of six to eight weeks which really gets going in May. We can also celebrate May with the new season potatoes; (look out for Jersey Royals) - perhaps try out a simple salad or vichyssoise soup.

Since outdoor-reared spring lamb appears later this month, it's the perfect time for all sorts of lamb roasts.

It's easy being green in May, since the first of the year’s herbs, such as chervil and parsley are around, as well as watercress (which makes a fabulous soup), and nature provides spring foraging with wild leeks and wild garlic.

There are some interesting food celebrations in May, which is National Asparagus Month (oh happy days!), from Be Nice To Nettles Week (May 15-26), to British Tomato Week (May 20-26) and English Wine Week (May 25-June 2). And while we are at it, why not give National Vegetarian Week a try, (May 20-26). Please don't forget World Hunger Day (May 28). More awareness days can be found here.

There are lots of food events in the UK in May, from the Real Food Festival in London (May 3-6) to Cromer and Sheringham Crab + Lobster Festival (May 17-19) to the Welsh Perry and Cider Festival in Monmouthshire (May 24-27). A fuller list can be found here and here.

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:artichokes (globe), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli (purple sprouting), broom buds, cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chives, fat hen, hogweed shoots, garlic, hop shoots, lettuce, meadowsweet, mint, morel mushrooms, parsley, radishes, samphire, sea kale, sea spinach, sorrel, spring onions, turnips, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic (ransoms), wild rocket

fruit and nuts:
apples, cherries, gooseberries, pears, rhubarb

meat and game:
beef, chicken, duck, lamb, mutton, pork, turkey, wood pigeon

fish and shellfish:
crab (spider), freshwater crayfish, cuttlefish, herring, lemon sole, mackerel, mullet, pilchards, pollack, prawns, salmon (wild), sardines, sea bass, sea trout, shrimp

1 comment:

Emily Blair said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and keep meaning to comment . . . sorry! But I do love reading your stories about food. But this section (the seasonal bit) is fantastic. So keep up the good work!