Glorious May! Foods currently in season

by Ali on May 8, 2008

This post is by Lorna Cowie, an artist and self-described “extreme foodaholic”.

Ask any food addict, and they will tell you that to eat properly would be to eat things in season and from your own country. Here in Britain we are all up for eating British produce and supporting our local farmers, so here are a few things that you should be grabbing in May!

British Asparagus has a short growing life, a few weeks in fact, which is a shame as its delicate flavour and ease of cooking means it can be added to any salad, side or main. Remember always to snap the asparagus just before the woody ends and to plunge them into cold water after boiling/steaming them to stop them from becoming over cooked. Serve thrown over your salad, delicately placed next to your fish or meat or just nibble on the freshly cooked tips for asparagus goodness. (Four spears boiled in salted water only comes to 13 cals!)

Hear the cheer as I say this. Jersey Royal potatoes are IN SEASON! I am a huge Jersey potato lover and look forward to this time of year every year. There is nothing in the world that beats hit boiled new potatoes with a sprinkling of salt and fresh parsley. Remember if you cook too many then you can chop them up and scatter them over your salad the next day, or be naughty and slice them and fry them with your bacon. Yum!

Also look out for watercress – simply add its peppery goodness to your salads and sandwiches, spinach – great raw in salads or steamed down for a side to your main. May is also a fishy month with Sea Trout, Sea Bass and Salmon being freshest, remember to check how fresh your fish is by looking for glassy clear eyes, a firm feel and a fresh sea water smell. Don’t be afraid to ask your fish monger where and HOW the fish was caught. You are looking for a nice line caught fish that hasn’t been frozen and shipped hundreds of miles.

Enjoy rhubarb? It is at its best in May. Why aren’t you growing it? Its leaves are large and almost tropical looking and its redish pink stems give a flash of colour. Easy to grow and easier to cook, its a perfect corner filler in any small garden or tub.

Grab a crab and don’t be scared. Crabs are the crustaceans of May and should be devoured with childish glee and joy. It only take four to five minutes to boil a whole crab and then you have hours of fun cracking open the shell and nibbling at the beautiful inside. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself, though please follow the guidelines of cooking a crab. I simply send mine to sleep in the freezer for two hours, that way when he hits the boiling water he is fast asleep and feels nothing.

There are around 4,500 types of crabs, so I suggest looking for Cromer (from Norfolk or Scotland). It’s flesh is sweet and delicious and make sure you grab a male one for extra flavour.

(Image above by sarey*)

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