Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Through February, March and into April, purple sprouting broccoli offers a taste of what’s to come from the veg patch. Look for dark, greenish-purple plants (avoiding any which are yellow and wilted) and trim the ends before you cook it. We love it simply steamed (three or four minutes is usually enough) tossed in a little butter and served as a side dish, but this versatile veg is also great in stir fries, roasted, in a gratin, or even in a quiche.
More to Make the Most of this Month
After a winter of citrus, nuts and chocolate, rhubarb brings a welcome breath of bright, spring-like sweetness to the plate. Arriving from March to May, its main crop boasts a more intense flavour and robust texture than the earlier forced crop (which arrives in the winter months). Although it can be eaten raw, rhubarb tends to be too tart this way, and it’s usually best when cooked with plenty of sugar – try simmering with port and caster sugar to make a delicious crumble.
Native oysters are smaller and shallower than rock oysters, and are generally at their best when there’s an ‘r’ in the month – which means we’re coming to the end of the season. If you’re confident enough to prepare them at home, try them with a simple vinaigrette with shallots, or for something richer try an indulgent oyster Rockefeller.
Hailed as the ‘queen of greens’, kale comes into its own in spring. It is one of the few green vegetables to thrive following the coldest months of the year, with its leaves becoming sweeter and more flavoursome as the season begins to turn – and its high antioxidant and vitamin content can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart problems. Pair it with partridge, pheasant, guinea fowl or duck, or stir into a hearty stew.