May is an exciting time for UK produce. We’re finally exiting the hungry gap, and Britain’s fields are starting to teem with beautiful fresh fruit and veg. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s in season in May.
Seasonal Food in May
The arrival of May marks a distinctive change in the UK growing calendar. The warmer, longer days send plant growth around the country into overdrive. While many seasonal crops are still in their early stages of growing after their spring seeding, May is still a great time to experience some of the best veg the UK has to offer. Asparagus, one of the first crops to appear, is the real highlight of the month. Its unique flavour makes it one of the most sought after vegetables of the year. Foragers are also busy roaming the countryside in May, with wild garlic at its peak and rock samphire harvests starting too.
Veg in season in May
While the British Asparagus season is short, it’s surely one of the most beloved. We only get British asparagus for about 8 weeks of the year. From late April to late 21st of June – Midsummer’s Day – which is when all asparagus growers in the UK stop cutting spears.
When is asparagus in season? April to June
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Like most of the brassica family, purple sprouting broccoli is a hardy vegetable. Grown through the winter, it has a long harvesting season. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy its great flavour and all its nutritional benefits. We source our purple sprouting broccoli from Dan Byrd at Tythe Barn Farm.
When is purple sprouting broccoli in season? September to June
How to cook purple sprouting broccoli? Up your sides game and try purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy butter dressing. Be sure to trim off any woody ends before cooking!
This variety of potato has grown in Jersey for over 130 years. The island has a unique microclimate and its soil is much lighter than that on the mainland. This creates the optimal conditions for this seasonal spud to grow in. Jersey Royals are harvested from March, but the peak of their season is in May.
When are jersey royals in season? March to July
Fruit in season in May
In mid to late spring the outdoor rhubarb harvesting season begins, with this species being in the fields as late as September. Rhubarb can be characterised by its sharp flavour. When cooked with sugar, it makes for a lovely tangy flavour, great for jams or as an addition to a crumble.
When is rhubarb in season? April to September
How to cook rhubarb? Commonly used in desserts, rhubarb is perfect for frangipane and also makes a great accompaniment for mackerel. Just make sure to even out with sharp flavour with something sweet or salty!
Similarly to Jersey, the Isle of Wight boasts a unique microclimate that makes it perfect for growing tomatoes. It receives more sunlight hours than the mainland, and rarely suffers from heavy snow and hard frosts. Since 2007, The Tomato Stall have been growing some 30 varieties of tomato on the island, and their plants are pollinated by a team of bees, which keeps the process as close to nature as possible.
When are tomatoes in season? May to October
How to cook tomatoes? Make tomatoes the star of the show with this beautiful panzanella salad. Alternatively you can simply roast them with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, this makes for a tasty addition to your Sunday brunch.
Herbs in season in May
From late winter to late spring, there is an abundance of wild garlic growing in woodland floors and riverbanks. Wild garlic can be characterised by its spear-like shaped leaves and its delicate six-petalled white flowers. It also boats cholesterol-lowering nutritional properties.
When is wild garlic in season? March – Early June
How to cook wild garlic? What makes wild garlic so popular is its versatility. You can add it to risottos and soups, or try something bolder with our wild garlic tear and share bread. If you want your wild garlic to go for longer, blitz it into a pesto and store in the fridge!
Wood sorrel grows across woodland floors and has a notable citrus tang. Miles Irving (better known as The Forager) says, “Wood sorrel may well be the original shamrock of the Irish, not the clover as commonly thought. Use raw in salads (including fruit salads) or as a tasty garnish for sweet and savoury dishes.”
When is wood sorrel season? You’ll find wood sorrel from spring through to autumn, but the height of its season is in April and May.
How to cook with wood sorrel? Use the leaves to garnish a risotto, or blend as part of a foraged herb pesto. Keep the stalks to add some citrus to your soups and stews.
Meat & Fish in season in May
At this time of year, when you order your lamb from Farmdrop, you’ll actually be receiving hogget. Hogget’s are lambs that were born the previous Spring and have spent the last year grazing on lush grass to make for a beautifully tender meat. The spring lamb you buy from the supermarket is mostly imported from New Zealand.
When are lambs in season? You can purchase lamb all year round. However from January to May, you’re purchasing British hogget or New Zealand lamb. British spring lamb is available June through to December/January.
How to cook lamb? Try slow cooking your joint of lamb to really intensify the flavour. Or make Sundays special with this incredible Shoulder of Lamb with Anchovy, Black Garlic and Rosemary.
Cuttlefish are caught in the English channel by trawlers, netters and in pots. We source our cuttlefish from Sole of Discretion, a collective of small-scale fisheries based out of Plymouth. Sole of Discretion only ever buy pot caught cuttle from fishers in Eastbourne and a few in the South West. This year (possibly due to large trawlers not fishing so much during Covid-19), stocks of cuttlefish are more abundant than in recent years. Look out for monkfish and turbot at this time of year, too.
When is cuttlefish in season? May to August
How to cook cuttlefish? It’s delicious when scored, marinated and flash-fried in a smoking hot pan. Serve simply with a squeeze of lemon juice and sea salt.
Whilst crabs are available all year round, they are particularly abundant during the warmer months. Crab is at its best in May, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it throughout the rest of summer though! Potted and dressed on the Devonshire coast, our crabs are caught using small day boats to minimise the impact on the environment.
When is crab in season? April to October
How to cook crab? Crab and pasta are a match made in heaven, if you want to go even richer you could add it to a gratin. Or just keep it simple by mixing it with a dollop of mayonnaise and enjoying between two slices of crusty white bread.
You can browse Farmdrop’s best seasonal produce here.