May is truly a magical time when there is a revelry of leaves and blossoms. You’d have to go around with your eyes closed not to notice the riot of new growth all about. So what do I suggest you try?
3 leaves to nibble
I love to hunt out sorrel leaves (top left in picture) for it’s zesty vinegar flavour. It becomes more obvious as the month progresses so the fun is to find the first, smallest, tenderest leaves. Enjoy them in the fields, toss them to salads or add as a garnish to any potato or grain-based dish. They are a good partner for eggs – if you eat them.
Look out for peppery bittercress (2nd left, top row in picture). Gardeners may curse it, but it’s delightfully similar to watercress – and far cheaper – so don’t throw it all on the compost heap!
Hawthorn of course, is the symbol of May. Before the blossom distracts you however, why not take advantage of its bright young leaves. Serve them as salad greens with meals. Hawthorn is both food and medicine: most often associated with heart health, it is reputed to help dissolve cholesterol, strengthen the muscles, and prevent the hardening of arteries. Old herbals also recommend hawthorn for kidney stones and gout.
2 blossoms to drink
Sunny Gorse flowers scent the air on a warm day. Why not try capture that elusive perfum in a tea? Collect a handful (take care not to prick yourslef) and make a subtle, coconutty, melon flavoured drink. Add a little lemon, if you like.