Seasonal products: May

Petits pois (c) Creative Photo Corner shutterstock

Radis (c) olesya_ewa shutterstock

Radish (c) olesya_ewa shutterstock

With the beautiful days that arrive, the leaves blossom and the first fruits appear: the strawberries open the bench with the early gariguette. It begins to have taste and marries marvelously with the cream and the farm white cheeses which are at their best this year now that the cows are enjoying the tender grass and spring flowers in the green meadows where they are grazing. First cherries also, around mid-May, still very expensive but so pleasant to see.

The vegetable stalls are bursting with freshness; lettuce, romaine, watercress, herbs, radish pink and crunchy, carrots and turnips with their leaves, small onions white, early potatoes, green beans, snow peas …. All spring is at, in vegetables and fruits much higher than the previous month.

Mai seduces the vegetarian as well as the carnivore! In addition to lambs and the milk-fed vealdelicate and tender, the squabs are coming.

Langoustines (c) Heliosphile shutterstock

Langoustines (c) Heliosphile shutterstock

At the tide the shells Santiago de Compostela are leaving. Their fishing has been prohibited since mid-May. This is not a good thing, since they are getting closer to their egg-laying period and their egg pouch (the coral) is developing at the expense of the nut. Here are the delicious langoustinesall alive from Brittany.

Here are also the cakes at their best! And if the weather is nice, tunas and sardines will get closer to the coast and let the fisherman catch it. The small mackerels said lisettes are there also in abundance. It would be a pity to forget them because freshly caught, they can delight many gourmets.

As for the cheese boardhe promises sins of gluttony! The choice has widened: The milk tastes so good in May that all fresh cheeses benefit from it. This is the time to hearts with cream, of the fountain-bleau, of all the goats and finally Norman cheeses so influenced by the quality of the raw material.

The Camembert is the first to blossom in May. The real Camembert de Normandie with A.O.C. specified on the box and whose raw milk cheese flavor molded with a ladle can be compared to the pasteurized versions produced in France. For the Pont-l’Evêque, Livarot and other Normandy cheeses that mature a little slowly, we will wait another month to find the absolute marvel.

Fromages (c) JPC Prod - Shutterstock

Cheeses (c) JPC Prod – Shutterstock

As usual by clicking on the words in pink, you arrive on the list of recipes using this ingredient.

In the vegetable garden :

  • Asparagus Green, white, purple, they are all there. It is in May that they are the best. Why not take advantage of the fact that spring eggs are exquisite to make a scramble of eggs with asparagus tips?
  • The bean Freshly picked, it is a ephemeral delight of spring. It has to be peeled, that’s the problem. But those who make the most of it and put a sprig of savory in its cooking to perfume it and make it more digestible, always keep a memorable memory of it. Choose the smaller ones, they are the tastiest.
  • Artichoke pepper Small artichoke to be eaten raw or Italian style, cooked in vinegar water, drained and covered with olive oil for 1 month, it is the delight of the Provencal. The Italians add some irresistible Parmesan shavings.
  • The radish : After the hastened versions in the greenhouse, it is the radish in the open ground that arrives in May. It is fleshier, very red, sometimes more pungent, but in any case crunchy with green leaves. The black radish also is delicious, with salt sandwiches.
  • The pourpier My salads come one after the other and often don’t look alike. The purslane is very particular and rarely eaten alone, but it finds its blooming in the mesclun, this mixture of varieties put in fashion by the Provençal people. Season it at the last moment because it is fragile.
  • The pea : This is his second and last month of full season.
Petits pois (c) Creative Photo Corner shutterstock

Peas (c) Creative Photo Corner shutterstock

The products that arrive : 

  • The potato : It joins the rank of the first fruits, with a skin so thin that there is no need to peel it. The small potato from the Ile de Ré which received an AOC in 1998 is a marvel. The bonotte primeur from Noirmoutier is also succulent.
  • Early vegetables They will never be better than in May: tasty, fleshy, just picked with their leaves so fresh that some people eat them too, they are perfect. The taste of the vegetable picked before maturity may not be at its fullest, but its freshness gives it a taste of unparalleled delicacy.

The products that leave :

  • Endive We have become accustomed to finding endive in all circumstances. The one in the open ground disappears.
  • The pumpkin There is no more pumpkin, even of conservation. Farewell to hot, invigorating soups.
    The broccoli It is nevertheless a winter cabbage. It is becoming less good, especially compared to the tender early varieties available today.
  • The cauliflower Spring varieties are coming to an end. Those of summer which will succeed them have less interest.
  • Asparagus There are still some, but this is the last month. The green tips can still, in the American way, decorate with panache croutons with scrambled eggs.

In the orchard :

Fraises (c) Trong Nguyen shutterstock

Milling cutters (c) Trong Nguyen shutterstock

  • The strawberries The gariguette in all its splendour is completed by its daughters, ciflorette and other strawberries beginning with “ci”.
  • The rhubarb The good behaviour of the leaves gives information on the freshness of the plants. But as they are not edible, rhubarb is often sold in small bundles of stems. In this case, check that the base of the stems is brittle with a drop of pearling juice at the break. Beware of rhubarb picked too ripe, the stems will be hollow and stringy. The more ripe it is, the more acidic it is! This is an exception in the agricultural world.

The products that arrive :

  • The cherry From the middle of May, the first ones appear, mainly from Languedoc-Roussillon. The “burlat” whose color varies from red to purple, is the earliest variety. Not yet very sweet and exorbitantly priced, it is especially decorative in May but so tempting.
  • The almond The fresh almond is a rarity of absolute delicacy.
  • The melon It is the Charentais who appears. To be avoided again. Without ripening in full sun, a hasty melon has no interest for the gastronome.

The products that leave :

  • The orange No more Maltese and juicy navels. The fruit becomes totally out of season, neither sweet nor fragrant. It will now be necessary to wait until winter to find the true pleasure of the orange.
  • The pomelo He also finished his time. The last specimens have become less good and less attractive as the fruits of spring appear.

At the fishmonger’s :

  • The Saint Peter In high season, its price in May is among the most advantageous of the year.
  • Mackerel Abundant from April to November, this beautiful blue fish comes closer to the French coasts in spring to look out for more tasty food.
Maquereaux (c) Alvaro German Vilela shutterstock

Mackerels (c) Alvaro German Vilela shutterstock

The products that arrive :

  • The tuna As soon as the weather is nice, white or red, it arrives on the stalls. It is one of the best fish to eat raw, in sashimi or tartar. Beware of the variety that you buy, many are in danger of extinction.
  • The langoustines The beautiful and big ones continue to arrive. The fresh and lively ones too. Only their price indicates that they are not yet in full season.
  • The glasswort It is a vegetable of sorts, but it grows only in saline areas and is only sold to fishmongers. It accompanies in an original way certain marine products.

The products that leave :

  • The Saint James From the 15th of May, its fishing is closed. It will now disappear until October. All scallops served in the kitchen will then be frozen.

At the butcher and the poulterer :

  • Lamb : It is a grazer now put in the meadows where it tastes the herbs of spring. It gains weight and becomes more fleshy. The salt meadows of Mont-Saint-Michel have never been so good.
  • The calf Milk-fed veal is at its peak. Fed under the mother, it has known only mother’s milk. Its flesh is pale and tender, with a special taste (the most delicate of the year); and their grain is very fine.

The products that arrive :

  • The squab The tender pigeon appears. I have never cooked one. It is necessary to choose it of at least 350 g for a person and to prefer the small ones (never more than 500 g if you want a tender beast). Simply roast it and lay it on a bed of fresh peas.

At the creamer’s :

Lait (c) shutterstock

Milk (c) shutterstock

  • The dairy products Cows taste the tender and flowery meadows. Their milk has never been so good. Just think of Fontainebleau, this little wonder of white whipped cream forming, to be served with strawberries.
  • The goats : Arrivals of the very good Selles-sur-Cher, Pouligny-Saint-Pierre and the pyramid of Valençay. Choose them fresh or half ripened to keep their spring flavor.
  • The Camembert The real Camembert, the best, the one under AOC, also called “Camembert de Normandie”, is a product made, at the moment, with the best spring milk. Counting on an optimal maturing period, the best of these cheeses start to arrive on the market in May.
  • The Saint Marcellin It becomes so creamy that it must be sold supported by a plastic base. As it is never strong, prefer it creamy as you like. It will keep this state of succulence all summer long.

In the woods

  • The monsoon It is the great month of the tricholome of Saint Georges or true monsoon. As it only lasts a few weeks, we must seize every opportunity to taste it.

The products that go away :

  • The morel : The season is often too short and those who manage to take advantage of it are the exception. Dried morels, which are very honourable, will be the substitute for fresh products in the coming months.

A very interesting book to discover the seasonal products from which all this information is taken: The almanac of the gastronome.

Click here to discover all my seasonal recipes.

Make good use of it!

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