Foods of the season - May
When May comes around, we know that spring has definitely sprung! The leaves on the trees are sprouting and we are reacquainted with lush greenness, whether it’s in our gardens or our woodlands. Flowers are in bloom and we are reintroduced to vivid and cheerful splashes of colour.
It is also the time of the year when we are moving on from the root vegetables of winter and refreshingly meeting an abundant array of seasonal produce in our supermarkets - from spinach, watercress, salad leaves, asparagus, fresh herbs, new potatoes to rhubarb.
This newfound variety of fresh food is always welcomed as we not only have more quality ingredients to choose from, but it also makes it easier for us to include delicious and healthy options into our diet without putting added pressure on our budget.
Eating with the seasons can be a cost effective way to shop and less expensive as there is more supply. Stores tend to stock up and buy in bulk, thereby putting more attractive pricing for customers to enjoy.
You are not only getting the freshest goodness on your plate but also a great range of flavours and nutrients, which are locally-sourced and benefit the farmers, our environment and our economy. It’s time to forget about food miles!
Earlier this year, the Scottish government launched a four-week campaign to encourage and champion the “eating and sourcing of fresh, in-season food.” It’s wonderful to see that politicians are getting into the game!
Here are some seasonal produce for you to buy in May:
Chicory, also known as Belgian endive or witloof, comes either in white or red varieties. It can have quite a bitter flavour to it but like asparagus, it is up there with some of the most alkaline of vegetables. Try cutting the bulb into quarters and chargrilling it. It’s great raw or cooked.
Interestingly, this vegetable with its packed and elongated cones, is grown in the dark to ensure it keeps its long white or red head.
It’s a good source of vitamins (A, C, K) and minerals including inulin (dietary fibre), potassium, iron magnesium and calcium
So why not try it in as part of a fantastic salad? Serve it with a delicious, zingy tahini dressing and some toasted seeds on a big platter. It will look amazing at a dinner party!
Radishes are brilliant for adding a crunchy texture and a dash of colour to your salads or Asian dishes.
With their juicy and mustardy kick, we love them with brown rice, edamame beans, sweet potatoes and a coriander dressing. They are delicious as a crudité - crisp with a bit of spice to them.
The most commonly found variety is the small red cherry-like kind with its slight peppery taste.
The fact that are rich in folic acid, potassium as well as a great source of vitamin B6 and C, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium, makes them a wonderful addition to your diet.
As we generally eat them raw, radishes keep all of their nutritional benefits.
Studies have shown that they have anti-cancer properties as they contain sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), two natural antioxidant compounds that may slow or stop the growth of several types of cancer.
You can also find some white radishes on the market. They’re called daikon, are shaped like a white carrot, and have a milder flavour than their red and white-coloured cousins. Just think of them as just another member of radish family.
How about trying our Asian Oyster Mushroom & Daikon Salad and have a go by trying this very under used vegetable.
When we think of peas, we often associated them with our favourite national dish – fish and chips with a side of “mushy” peas. And we often think of them as frozen.
But now is the time to enjoy them fresh as they are great in everything from salads, soups to side dishes. They’re also amazing in a frittata, tart or with pasta. Think of your trips to Rome and those lovely mains brimming with ham and this green vegetable. In other words, peas are not only quite versatile and but also good for the soul.
As an excellent source of protein, fibre, iron, and vitamins A, C and B1 (thiamin), they provide a delicious nutritional boost to any meal. Its properties also include promoting intestinal health as well as helping with energy production and nerve function.
This legume grows inside long and plumb pods. They are sweet and tender when they are just-picked so be sure not to miss out and go with the fresh kind!
By Chantal Ouimet - Honestly Healthy Editor