Here are some May recipe ideas to give you some idea of what you could be eating from your garden at this time of year. In May, many of your main crops may be approaching harvest – but will not be quite there just yet. However, if you look around your garden, you may find plenty of delicious things to eat. There are likely to be plenty of fresh spring greens on the go, and you may also have several other things in your garden ready to harvest this month.
A Varied Spring Salad
Salads might not be the most original of dishes. But they certainly don’t have to be boring! There are a huge range of grown and foraged ingredients from your garden which can be added to a salad in the spring.
In the vegetable garden, for example, you might have:
thinned baby carrots
thinned baby beetroots
And you can also add plenty of foraged greens to your salads too, including:
young hawthorn leaves, beech or linden leaves.
These are just a few examples of some greens you can forage for in your own garden and in your surroundings at this time of year.
Stir Fry Recipe Ideas
Stir fries are also great ways to use up greens from your garden at this time of year. As well as using many traditional annual crops which are ready for harvest this month, you can also use more unusual edibles. Two more unusual plants, for example, which are great for stir fries this month are Chenopodium bonus henricus (good king henry) and Hostas (the rolled up hostons and young leaves of these plants are delicious in stir fries).
I like to make simple stir fries with these and other interesting greens, perhaps with some sprouts and grated carrot mixed in. Onion greens or garlic greens add plenty of flavour, as do a range of herbs which you could harvest from your garden at this time of the year.
Pesto and Recipe Ideas To Use It
Another great way to use up some of those perennial herbs and spring greens in May is by making pesto. Combining finely chopped fresh spring greens with garlic, olive oil, and some nuts or seeds is a simple yet delicious way to make a pesto which can be used in a wide range of different ways.
I use many different greens from my annual and perennial garden areas, and wild foraged greens like the young tips of stinging nettles to make pestos on a regular basis. Those pestos are great on pasta, potatoes or in rice dishes. You can spread them in sandwiches, onto pizzas, or use them to add flavour and nutrition in a huge range of recipes, from soups, to quiches, and more.
Cabbage Rolls, Sauerkraut and More
One main crop that may be ready to harvest in your garden this month are spring cabbages which have overwintered. You may be wondering what to do with the cabbages you have grown. One recipe that I like to use both for large leaves of cabbage and for kale is cabbage rolls. This simply involves wrapping the leaves around other ingredients to make little parcels. I like to fill mine with vegetables and barley or other grains. But you could also wrap egg, milk or meat-based ingredients in cabbage leaves too. And serve with a herby sauce (or pesto) of your choosing.
Another great thing to do with cabbages and other overwintered greens is to ferment some to make a healthy sauerkraut or kimchi type dish. Eating fermented food is very healthy, and these flavoursome foods can be a great thing to add to your diet.
Sprouting Broccoli Recipe Ideas
One great seasonal ingredient that you might be enjoying still in May is purple sprouting broccoli. This is one of the vegetables that really offers great value for money in the spring – sending up numerous shoots, often over a couple of months.
There are plenty of different ways to use up this versatile ingredient. Of course, you can add the sprouts to the salads and stir fries mentioned above. You can also use them in a wide range of other recipes. For example, we like to use them in quiches, omelettes and frittata type dishes. I also add them to many soups, stews, curries etc.. And they can also be great, of course, steamed or roasted and simply used as a side dish.
Globe Artichoke Recipe Ideas
Remember, you should consider growing perennials as well as annuals in your garden. And one interesting and useful perennial crop to grow is globe artichokes, which can be ready to harvest in May. Globe artichoke hearts are great simply boiled or steamed. Another great way to cook them is to char grill them.
One interesting thing to consider is that garlicky breads like focaccia can work very well when artichoke hearts are included in the dough, perhaps along with some herbs like rosemary, and other perennial greens.
In May, you also still have time to think about harvesting rhubarb stems. You should usually leave plants alone from next month, but this month, you can still have an abundant harvest from these perennial plants, as long as they are mature.
Most people are very familiar with the traditional sweet dishes and preserves that can be made with rhubarb. But rhubarb can also be used in savoury recipes.
For example, a spicy and tangy rhubarb relish can work well for barbecues as the weather begins to warm. Rhubarb is great for making a range of condiments which work well with a range of meat or vegetarian or vegan dishes.
The above is just a taste of what can potentially be harvested and eaten from your garden this month. And another thing for home growers to remember is that they can also eat plants from their garden that they have not necessarily cultivated, but which grow naturally in the area. In other words – eat the weeds. There are many green, fresh spring greens which taste great and are very nutritious at this time of year.
Eat nettles, chickweed, dandelions, and many more common weeds to bulk out your home grown diet before the main crops from the main areas of your garden are ready to harvest. If you look around, you will often find far more wild food than you imagine, as well as being able to harvest the season crops that you have grown.
What do you eat from your garden in May? Which May recipe ideas are your favourites? Let us know what you grow and how you like to use those ingredients in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.