The Seasonal Guide: Spring 2022
Each season, we highlight the best produce available to guide you through our recipe edits and what you should be cooking with at the moment. If you’re curious and want to know more, a good starting point is our Introduction to Seasonal Eating. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it’s food for thought on why and how we can be eating more seasonally.
In this season’s guide, we’ve listed the best of the Spring’s fruit and veg right from now until the beginning of July. Everything around this time of year begins to look a little more green — from the first of the asparagus through to deep green leaves of wild garlic.
Our seasonal guides are a good overview of what’s at it’s best over the next few months, but remember that all produce works in early, peak and late seasons — we mention some of them below, but we’ll be delving into that in more depth a little later on.
“Everything around this time of year begins to look a little more green — from the first of the asparagus through to deep green leaves of wild garlic.”
For now, here’s our list of the best produce available right now. Try building a dish around one of these ingredients — it’s actually a really great way to work out what to cook when you’ve run out of ideas or inspiration in the kitchen — and it’ll get you excited for what’s coming next too.
One of the first signs that Spring has well and truly arrived is the appearance of those unmistakable bright green bunches of asparagus. British asparagus appears mid to late April and it’s not around for too long, quickly disappearing in June, so it’s pretty much exactly in season within Spring. The freshest asparagus needs little more than a squeeze of lemon when after boiling or steaming, but it’s a vegetable that works incredibly well with a range of flavours, probably most famously hollandaise.
Try Gill Meller’s Asparagus with Labneh & Seeds — a great one for your first BBQ of the year, and a really beautiful way to cook it. The acidity from the yoghurt cuts perfectly through the sweetness of the asparagus, in a similar but softer way than hollandaise would.
El Kemp’s Asparagus Fregola is one you’d happily throw together for lunch or dinner during the week, if you’re looking for a more simple recipe to get your asparagus fix.
A lovely sign that Summer is coming, broad beans appear around May and are beautiful to cook with. They are exactly the kind of thing you want if you’re looking to slow down in the kitchen as they take a little extra time to pod. There’s something almost meditative about podding them — you could honestly spend hours doing it (depending on how many people you’re cooking for…!) Although they’re also delicious in their skins, so the choice is yours.
Nuno Mendes’s Coriander Marinated Broad Beans is a great one to try if you’ve got some broad beans on your hands this Spring. It would make a perfect side dish to fish, meat or chicken, especially Nuno’s Piri-Piri Chicken if you want to keep things Portuguese.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
One of our favourite vegetables gets a bit of a facelift from it’s Spring cousin, purple sprouting broccoli, at its best in March and April. It’s got that familiar sweet and soft broccoli flavour, but the thinner, leafy stalks and smaller heads give a nice change in texture to our usual friend. The purple colour does actually disappear slightly when cooked through, but it’s also delicious raw in your salads, and in any recipe, PSB can pretty much just be interchanged with tenderstem too.
If you’re interested in how food can benefit our mental health, plant-based food writer Lauren Lovatt is the one for you. Her CBD Stir Fry makes use of in-season PSB or tenderstem broccoli together with fresh herbs, spices and adaptogens.
We’re used to eating carrots year-round, and generally they are available throughout the seasons, but there is nothing like a young, sweet carrot in late Spring and early Summer. You’ll know you’ve got one when you want to eat the skin, it’ll be just as sweet and flavoursome as a peeled carrot in other months.
Honey & Co’s Roasted Carrots with Pistachio Cream, Coriander Seeds & Honey are a good one to make around now — if you’re reading this early in Spring you could also make the most of the last few blood oranges in this recipe. Or Lauren Lovatt’s Smoked Carrots on Charcoal Pancakes are a good one if you’re after something a bit different and want to spend some more time perfecting your
Jersey Royals & New Potatoes
Spring is the season of all things new, including potatoes. Jersey Royals are particularly special, grown only on the island of Jersey due to its unique growing conditions. Their season is so short, beginning at the end of March and lasting only until early July, so make the most of them whilst they’re around. They have a soft texture and somewhat nutty flavour — they’re smaller at the beginning of their season and sightly larger at the end.
Flora Shedden’s Sorrel, Asparagus & Potato Salad, a recipe she’s written exclusively for Another Pantry, makes the most of Spring ingredients right through to the dressing. Use new potatoes or Jersey Royals if you can get hold of them for something extra special.
We’re so used to having our small green pea pals stashed away in our freezer, but it’s a real treat to eat them fresh when in season. Nothing beats the sweetness and the crunch of peas at their best, so much so that we actually love eating them in salads to keep the fresh flavour.
Caravan’s Shelling Peas, Broad Beans, Mint & Ricotta is Spring on a plate — it’s light, refreshing and exactly the kind of green we want to be eating as it gets a little warmer.
Radishes are in season throughout Spring and Summer, so their arrival definitely means the warm weather is on its way. Crunchy, sweet and sometimes spicy too, they’re a lovely addition to a salad, or even as a crudité in themselves. We love them dipped into a thick garlicky aioli and you’ll probably find them served in restaurants that way too.
Rhubarb sort of has two seasons, so you’ll remember seeing it in our Winter edit. Forced Rhubarb first appears around January, and Field Rhubarb appears later on in Spring. The latter variety usually a little more pink and flavourful, but it’s still just as tart so often needs a cooking down with a lot of sugar — probably why you’ll see lots of rhubarb compote and rhubarb shrubs.
If you fancy your hand at baking with the pink stuff, Gill Meller’s Upside Down Rhubarb Cake is a great one for a weekend afternoon or even a mid-week pick-me-up with a cup of tea.
Sorrel & Other Herbs
Although most herbs are perrenial and available year round, many are at their best in the Spring. Rosemary, for example, is a hardy herb that generally grows throughout all seasons, but it grows more intensely around this time of year.
Sorrel is a little more seasonal as it appears in early Spring and sticks around generally until Autumn, but it does get progressively more bitter over the months, so now is the time to eat it if you want it at its sweetest. It’s got a lovely citrusy flavour which makes it a good one to add into salads.
As the weather begins to warm up a little, try Alissa Timoshkina’s Sorrel & Cucumber Botvinia, a refreshing cold herby soup. Or if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy in-season herbs, Flora Shedden’s got your next cocktail party covered with her Rhubarb Gimlet.
Spinach will be at its sweetest and most fresh in the Spring. Whether it’s fresh, crisp spinach leaves in your salads or if you’re wilting it into curries or stews, it’s a wonderful and versatile green to be eating this time of year. Try it where you were previously using kale or cavolo nero over the winter months.
Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones’s Goan Baked Eggs is a deep, earthy & warming brunch dish with lots of fresh spinach folded through the lightly spiced tomato sauce. It’s so flavourful and perfect for those slightly colder Spring weekend mornings.
It sort of makes sense that these guys would be at their best in Spring, when they’re sweet, soft and young. The great thing about spring onions is that they work almost any way — simply chopped up raw as a garnish, folded through a salad, or even griddled and served with a dip.
Sonali Shah’s Charred Spring Onions with Romesco is a pretty perfect side dish for when you’ve got pals coming over and need a quick impressive side, or even when you’ve got a BBQ and want something different to serve alongside the usual culprits.
You know it’s Spring when there’s wild garlic in the air. Literally. You can smell it a mile off. It’s a great one to forage for yourself, as it’s often found in abundance in green areas and woodland across the UK around this time of year. Take care when foraging though, make sure you have permission to pick, and try to pick away from roads.
Wild Garlic is great to use in place of other herbs, like in a pesto, or even in a simple oil to drizzle onto veg or soups as in El Kemp’s Spring Ribbollita with Wild Garlic Oil.
Foraging is a really great way to get some different veg into your cooking. Wild garlic is the most common one in the Spring, but nettles are a pretty interesting one to use too. They’ve got a deep earthy flavour and when cooked they’re a little sweet, similar to spinach. Just be sure to wear thick gardening gloves if you decide to pick them, and opt for the younger leaves at the top of the stalk.
Olia Hercules’s Nettle, Sorrel & Wild Garlic Soup brings the best of Spring all into one bowl with all of the season’s best foraged greens.