The first day of summer is officially 21 June, yet us keen beans in the UK celebrate the start of the season on 1 May with bunting, Morris dancing and maypoles. Starting the summer early doesn’t seem totally alien when you consider that we put the Christmas lights up in September and Easter eggs hit the shops on New Year’s Day. Why should summer be any different?
However, it is sometimes worth remembering that it’s not really summer just yet – you might need that cardigan for another month. Spring produce is also still absolutely at its best right now and, cardigan or not, you might even get the chance to have your first meal in the garden. All of these dishes would taste great eaten in the fresh air, even if it’s only warm enough to open a window.
You can eat pak choi raw, but it’s best lightly fried or steamed, so that the leaves are gently wilted but the stalk still retains some crunch. You could also stir-fry or griddle this robust veg until the leaves are charred in places.
Tip: The stem will often take longer to cook, so depending on your recipe or preference, you might want to remove the stalk from the leaf and cook them separately. For more serving ideas, see our pak choi recipe collection.
Smacked cucumber sounds a bit violent, but it’s from the same school of thought as massaged kale. By bruising it just before dressing, you’re opening it up to receive all those flavours.
Tip: Add these pickles to a homemade feast of gunpowder chicken with dried red chillis & peanuts, salt & pepper prawns, rice and thin-stemmed broccoli with hoisin sauce.
For more recipe inspiration, see our cucumber collection.
You could also try lambs lettuce in this warm halloumi salad with radishes & apples.
Naturally slightly sweeter than fully grown potatoes, they taste great in salads or thinly sliced on a white pizza with cheese and rosemary. And surely no barbecue or garden party is complete without a big bowl of potato salad?
Tip: Dressing the potatoes while they’re still warm helps them soak up all the flavour.
Visit our new potato recipe collection for more suggestions.
Browse recipes for, and information on, other ingredients in season in May:
- Wild garlic
Seasonal food dates in May
19-26 May – British Sandwich Week
Indulge in an epic sandwich stack worth celebrating.
27 May-2 June – National BBQ week
Find the perfect recipe for you in our barbecue hub.
Other dates for your diary:
6 May – Early May Bank Holiday
11 May – World Fair Trade Day
18 May – Eurovision Song Contest
Catch the grand final on BBC One (8pm) and find Eurovision recipe ideas if you’re hosting a party.
27 May – Spring Bank Holiday
Find a sensational sharing feast feature in our Bank Holiday recipe collection.
See our seasonal calendar for more inspiration.
More seasonal recipes and information
Our top 20 spring recipes
Foraging: a beginner’s guide
Spring greens recipe collection
10 recipes to make you feel like spring is here
Healthy spring recipes
Top 10 rhubarb recipes
12 ways to serve asparagus
Bank Holiday recipes