This month Absolutely Wild’s Peter Studzinski drops by to give us some great tips about foraging in May.
For foraging, May is a transitional month between spring and summer. The beginning of the month is still very much spring, but by the end of May you are getting early summer classics like elderflower and even the very first chanterelles. The list below is what I have locally in the south. There are great regional variations.
The month is marked by hawthorn blossom (called May blossom for good reason), although these days you can sometimes find it a bit earlier. Hawthorn blossom makes a great syrup and I prefer to use it over the berries. May is also the month when the leaves on broad-leaved tress become abundant. Leaves might sound a bit boring, but the very young leaves of beech can be used to make a great, traditional gin liqueur (sometimes called beach leaf noyau). Beech leaves are abundant too and can be found virtually anywhere. With imagination there are lots of possibilities – beech leaf sorbet and granita…
In May the sea shore comes alive. Sea beet (sea spinach), wild fennel, rock samphire, sea purslane and the first young shoots of marsh samphire can all be found.
And if it rains you’ll get the first abundant mushrooms. This year is superb for St Georges. They are often urban too (in parks and verges) so look out for this excellent dirty white mushroom. Look out for chicken-of-the-woods, fairy rings and dryads saddle too.
Wild Fennel Tops
HERBS, SALADS & VEGETABLES
Three Cornered Leek
Hogweed (shoots & buds)
Oxeye Daisy Leaves
Pine & Fir Shoots
Horseradish (root & leaves)
Douglas Fir Needles
FLOWERS & BLOSSOM
Wild Garlic Flowers
Three Cornered Leek Flowers
Chicken of the Woods
Foraging in May by Peter Studzinski.