It is May and we started with a Bank Holiday in the UK. We also end May with a Bank Holiday – what a month. As spring starts to move towards summer and the weather improves (we live in hope!) seasonal fruit and vegetables start to repay the efforts made in the colder months. The May Seasonal Produce Roundup is looking great. It needs a little more sun and warmth to be its best. Summer is in sight and everything seems possible!
Spring has sprung and summer is opening up. Welcome to the FriFran May Seasonal Produce Roundup.
If you want to find out exactly what is in season in the UK at the moment check out my FREE Seasonal Produce Posters. There are two posters you can save and/ or print to use as quick reference guides for UK Seasonal Produce. Click the button below to sign-up and download.
Why Eat Seasonally?
There are so many reasons to eat seasonal food. That is, food that is seasonal to your country or region.
1. Seasonal food requires less human interference. For example food grown out of season is highly likely to require poly-tunnels (and other similar temporary structures and materials), heat, excessive water, fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and so on. Seasonal food is cheaper and better for the environment.
2. Seasonal food has less distance to travel to get you your plate. Therefore it is fresh and better for the environment
3. Seasonal food tastes better and is better quality. This is because it is growing in conditions it is meant to grow in. Temperature, humidity, sunshine, water etc. Less waste and better taste.
Isn’t Eating Seasonally Difficult?
No!!! But, I get that you might think that it’s hard.
The UK is very lucky to have good seasonal crops most of the year and when some crops are not in season they store really well (e.g. root vegetables, apples etc.) so they are available for a large part of the year. However, most of the roundup here applies to much of the northern hemisphere. There are, of course local crops that it would just be too difficult (and lengthy) to add all produce and all timings to the list but you can still use these lists as a guide throughout the northern hemisphere.
However, not all parts of the UK are able to grow crops this could be due to ground conditions or climate. The UK is fairly small so transport around parts of the UK is pretty straightforward.
Eating seasonal food does not need to be prescriptive, awareness of what is in season (and good value) where you live can be enlightening and make meal planning easy.
When crops are in season they are cheap, plentiful and taste amazing. That is the time to buy them and freeze them. Especially fruit. Frozen food is AMAZING and is a really great way to get high quality fruit and veg throughout the year.
May Seasonal Produce Roundup – What Is In Season
Whatever May brings enjoy the burgeoning fruit and vegetables the spring has brought. The roundup of seasonal May produce is below.
May Seasonal Produce Roundup – Fruit
Seasonal fruit is coming along very nicely. We have
- Apricots – perfect just the way they are or make jam if you have lots
- Elderflowers – pick these and make a really simple Elderflower Cordial
- Nectarines – fabulous and juicy, slice in half and grill for Grilled Nectarine Salad with Rocket and Walnuts
- Raspberries – always good with chocolate – Chocolate, Hazelnut and Raspberry Torte anyone?
- Rhubarb: outdoor – I used to eat this straight from the ground dipped in sugar but if you don’t want to do that wonderful in with roasted apricot and Roasted Rhubarb with Crumble Topping
May Seasonal Produce Roundup – Herbs
Herbs seasonality also brings more choice in May. Crispy fried sage is wonderful with gluten free pasta. Available herbs this month include
- Bay – fabulous with any long cooked dish such as casseroles or roasts.
- Borage – with a taste similar to cucumber it is great in salads, soups and with gluten free pasta. The flower is sweet and can be used to decorate desserts
- Chervil – looks like a tiny version of flat leaf parsley with a mild, sweet, aniseed flavour. Wonderful in delicate salads
- Chives – delicate herbs with a strong flavour great garnish that actually adds flavour and depth to spinach and potato soup
- Lovage – the leaves and stem add an intense celery-like flavour to soups and stews Fabulous with potatoes. Widely used in Netherlands, Germany and Romania
- Parsley: curly, flat – a robust herb that works so well with walnuts and really fabulous in Carrot, Parsley and Butter Bean Soup
- Rosemary – the smell of fresh rosemary is instantly relaxing. Wonderful with roast potatoes
- Sage – whole sage leaves fried until crisp top and complete any gnocchi dish or Baked Mushrooms With Crispy Sage
- Savory: summer, winter – great with beans, the flavour reduces the longer it is cooked. Summer savory is sweeter and more delicate and widely used across Bulgaria and Romania
- Thyme: common, lemon – pungent wonderful flavour. Amazing with roast potatoes, baked with nectarines and added to a warm salad
May Seasonal Produce Roundup – Vegetables
Vegetables are starting to pop up. Look out for the wonderful Jersey royal potatoes with a unique flavour that is the taste of early summer. Available May seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include
- Asparagus: green/ red – keep it simple with Pan Fried Asparagus with Olive Oil and Lemon
- Aubergine – bake whole to make Baba Ganoush, fry slices and bake in Porcini and Cavolo Nero Lasagne or just wonderful in Ratatouille
- Cauliflower – so versatile, raw, steamed, riced, roasted or in Cauliflower, Almond and Nutmeg Soup
- Celeriac – fabulous roasted and made in to a silky soup and really, really wonderful in Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Chard – amazing and especially wonderful in Chard, Courgette and Pea Tart
- Chilli – I love chillies, they can be used in everything (dependent upon the heat and flavour) from Guacamole – Onion Free, Garlic Free, Tomato Freeto Ma Po Tofu to Chilli Sin Carne and all the other amazing uses in between
- Cress: mustard/ mixed – always available, what more do you need to top off a salad
- Cucumber – hello cucumber! There is nothing better than in-season cucumber. Try it in Cucumber, Seaweed and Carrot Salad
- Edible flowers – lots available from borage to nasturtium a striking addition to any salad, the tastes are amazing
- Horseradish – the ultimate kick to any dish. Horseradish aioli would be an amazing dressing for any salad
- Lettuce: curly, lambs, round – one of the fundamental salad ingredients, keep it simple with a light dressing, enjoy the in season flavours. Or try one of my favourite soups Lettuce and Pea Soup
- Mushrooms: button / cup /flat (cultivated), enoki (Cultivated), morel (wild), oyster (cultivated), pied bleu (cultivated), shitake (cultivated) – lots of different types with different flavours, bring out the earthy, nutty flavours in a risotto, Lentil and Mushroom Soup, or a simple stir fry
- Peppers: capsicum – versatile and available in several colours each with a subtly different flavour. Fabulous in a robust salad, as a key ingredient in Ratatouille, in Tofu and Green Peppers in Black Bean Sauce
- Potatoes – early: Jersey royals, maris bard, pentland javelin – new potatoes are perfect with their waxy integrity for potato salads with a light dressing, mint and salt. Try the incredibly simple and delightful Jersey Royal Potatoes with Mint
- Radishes – the mustardy heat of home grown radishes is wonderful. A simple salad like Fennel, Radish and Orange Salad is a perfect showcase
- Rocket – growing like Billy-O at the moment, mustard hot, avocado and rocket salad is wonderful as is Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Shallots – little bulbs of flavour, sautéed shallots form the foundations for lots of dishes, try roasting whole for soup
- Spinach – deep greens with a light metallic tinge, perfect in salads, great in bakes
May Seasonal Produce is incredible. I’m crazy about Jersey Royal Potatoes. What’s your favourite??? Drop your thoughts in the comments below or on social media.