See our seasonal recipes and key diary dates for March. This is the month where fresh greens and herbs start to emerge, so why not go foraging in the wild?
It's greens o'clock, and what a long time coming it has been. What a welcome sight these young, fresh, green vegetables and herbs bring to the table. It’s also a great time to get out into the wild and try foraging – but, if you are going to do so, make sure you know your stuff. Be sure to get the permission from the landowner and, if you’re new to foraging, take someone with you who knows what you can and cannot take. Better still, why not sign up to a hands-on foraging course? Nettles and wild garlic are some of the easiest to identify but, as with any wild food, if you’re not sure, leave it.
This is such a versatile ingredient, particularly at this time of year when the herb garden isn’t quite in full swing yet. Slice up the white and green parts separately and scatter the finely sliced green tops over the finished dish in place of herbs. They’re also brilliant whole as a vegetable in their own right, as with our tofu recipe, below.
Try our recipe for spring onions & teriyaki tofu.
Tip: Leave a few centimetres of the root end of the spring onion intact and set it in a small glass of water. Watch it grow back, giving you a whole new spring onion for free in a few weeks.
Also, try these charred spring onions & romesco.
Arm yourself with some thick gloves and these top tips from food writer and forager Adele Nozedar, of Breacon Beacons Foraging:
'The best time to eat nettles, many say, is in spring, when fresh growth is peeking out of the otherwise bare soil. Flowering stinging nettles can be eaten, but they are tough and unpalatable, except for the tassels of tiny seeds. When cooked fast over fire (when camping for instance), these have a lovely, nutty taste and add both flavour and crunch to, say, a simple pasta dish. Otherwise, dead nettles, which belong to the same family as mint, are edible – use the young tops as you would any other veg (stir-fries, soups, salads, etc). The flowers of all three types (purple, yellow and white), if you get to them before the bees, may give you a nice hit of nectar.'
Once cooked, nettles have a delicate, spinach-like flavour. Try them in this simple nettle soup recipe.
For more inspiration, don't miss our nettle spanakopita.
This gem of a side dish by Cassie Best makes the most of spring greens and will add some much-needed freshness to a deep dish of cosy comfort food.
Tip: Take a small sharp knife or kitchen scissors and cut out any tough central stems of the leaves. Don’t throw them away – use them in stocks or chop up small and use in place of celery in sofrito (a base for soups and stews).
Find extra ideas in this collection of spring greens recipes.
Also known as ramsons, this bulbous plant comes into season in late March-April and is one of the best things to make a flavoured butter or a pesto with. For a wild garlic pesto that's the very essence of spring, simply blitz wild garlic with olive oil and stir in a heap of finely grated parmesan, then drizzle it on everything.
Also try our recipe for garlic butter, which makes a delicious spread for picnic flatbreads.
Tip: Forage safely with these tips from Adele Nozedar:
'Be sure not to pick the toxic lords-and-ladies, aka cuckoo pint, which favours the same growing conditions and whose early growth is very similar. Rub the leaves – the scent of garlic should be unmistakable. The flowers, stems and leaves are all edible, as are the seeds. The other thing to bear in mind is to take only what you're going to use. There's nothing nastier than finding a forgotten plastic bag full of rotting vegetation in the boot of your car.
For more ideas, see our wild garlic recipe collection.
Browse recipes for, and information on, other ingredients in season:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Purple sprouting broccoli
Seasonal food events in March
Adele Nozedar has written three books on foraging: Foraging with Kids, The Hedgerow Handbook and The Garden Forage. She runs foraging courses in and around the Brecon Beacons, including regular monthly forages from The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny. Visit Brecon Beacons Foraging for details and dates.
Other dates for your diary:
5 March – Pancake Day
Head to our Pancake Day feature page for some flippin' fabulous tips.
17 March - St Patrick’s Day
Put on an Irish-style feast with our St Patrick's Day collection.
31 March – Mother’s Day
Treat mum to something special using these Mother's Day recipes.
See our seasonal calendar for more inspiration.
More seasonal recipes and information