Foraging in May

Mayday traditionally marks the beginning of summer and May can often be one of the warmest and driest months of the year, foraging in may can be fruitful. Spring greens are still out in force and the warmer weather means the next wave of edibles is just beginning.

So what can you forage in May? Here are our top five picks for the month.

What to look for when foraging in May

You can click on the species below to be taken to our full identification guides; 


In May the hawthorn bushes are in full bloom. Their flowers are a signature of May and their thorny branches feature in May Day traditions all over the UK. The flowers have an amazing almondy flavour and are great added to salads, used in deserts or infused in alcohol.

Hawthorn-flower_-Late-Spring-forager james

Fairy ring champignons

A lovely late spring, early summer time mushroom, They get their common name as they grow in rings. The rings can vary greatly in size depending on the age of the parent mycelium.

The mushrooms contain high levels of sugar called trehalose, which prevents cell damage when the mushrooms become extremely dry. So even if the weather does get hot they still tend to be in a good condition.

Fairy ring mushrooms, nice ring in may-LukeEmski, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ox-eye daisy

I think this is one of the best tasting flowering plants, the flowers and leaves are both edible and delicious.

I pickle the unopened flower buds and use them as a caper alternative.

When the flower buds have fully opened they are lovely dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried or they can be simply tossed through a fresh salad.

The young leaves have a strong herbal flavour when raw and I add them finely chopped to salads; they can also be cooked in a similar way to spinach.

Ox eye daisy, single flower-Quartl, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Irish sea moss or Carrageen

Carrageen is an increasingly popular seaweed due to its immune boosting properties, it can be found along most of the British coastline and it’s easy to ID. It’s a seaweed that most of us will have eaten perhaps unknowingly as it’s used a lot as a vegan thickener or stabiliser and appears in vegan milks, toothpaste and beers. 

Carrageen, shot of some fronds-Voctir, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ladies Smock

A common member of the Cabbage family is at its best in spring. The flowers and leaves have a spicy, horseradish type flavour  that works well in a variety of dishes. Normally found in meadows, where it gets established it can become hyper abundant.

ladies smock, flowers in may-forager fez

Recipe of the month for Foraging in May

Carrageen Pudding

This is a traditional Irish recipe that’s quite similar to an Italian panna cotta.


10g dried carrageen moss 

600ml milk 

1 vanilla pod 

1 large egg, separated 

30g caster sugar 

300ml double cream


Soak the carrageen in warm water for about 10 minutes until it softens. 

Drain off the water and place the seaweed in a saucepan with the milk. 

Split and scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the milk and add the pod too. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. 

Put the egg yolk into a bowl with the sugar and mix well with a whisk. 

Strain the milk mixture onto the egg yolk, pushing through all the jelly-like, swollen moss with the back of a spoon. 

Add the cream and leave to cool, then pour into individual ramekins and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so until set. 


I like to serve mine with a fresh coulis made from wild berries.



Cooking with Foraged Produce is a Joy!

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Identification is key!

Maybe you'd like to join us for some hands-on Foraging?

Find our Up coming Courses here