As April arrives it begins to feel that Spring has truly begun. The bright yellows of daffodils and flowers on the gorse bushes signal the arrival of produce that has now come into season to brighten up our plates.

The ground is scattered with the green shoots of wild garlic, a great plant to forage locally and use in the kitchen. This plant is great for beginners to forage as it is easily indefinable by its strong smell and white flowers. It is important to remember when foraging to take considerately and limit the amount picked from a particular area. This recipe for a wild garlic pesto comes from Ecosavvy’s Arran Home Recipe Book and can be used in a variety of other dishes such as pasta or risotto.

A salad is a great way to incorporate some of the produce that is coming into season in April. Vegetables like radishes and asparagus, and leafy greens like rocket and spinach can create a colourful and refreshing light bite. Herbs also in season in April like chives, dill, sorrel, basil, or mint make a great addition of flavour to salads. This recipe from Nigella is a great example though salads are endlessly adaptable and are a great way to use up any veg from the fridge.

For a sweet or savoury option, rhubarb with its tart flavour and vibrant pink stalks offers a lot of variety in the kitchen. This recipe for a rhubarb and ginger jam also from Ecosavvy’s cookbook is a great way to preserve or use up large quantities to share with family and friends.

Other seasonal vegetables to consider incorporating into your dishes this month include cauliflower, spring onions, purple sprouting broccoli, samphire, and new potatoes. Although it may seem like a lean month for harvesting, April offers a diverse array of produce and many opportunities to create delicious and nourishing meals.

This month is also a great time to get planting in the garden to ensure a plentiful harvest later this year. Robust root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips can be planted outdoors just now. Beetroot can also be planted but may need to be covered up. The mild temperatures of April mean germination may not be guaranteed outdoors, but seeds can be sown indoors or in greenhouses. These include things like pumpkins, squashes and marrows, chillies and peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes.


Wild Garlic Pesto


100g wild garlic leaves

50g parmesan cheese/ nutritional yeast or vegan hard cheese

50g toasted pine nuts 

1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil

lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to season


Thoroughly wash wild garlic leaves and place them with the parmesan, olive oil and pine nuts into a food processor and blitz. You could do this with a pestle and mortar if you want to be more traditional, which gives a coarser texture to the pesto.

Add a little more oil if you want to have a thinner result.

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

The pesto will stay fresh kept under a layer of oil in a jar for a couple of weeks though  best used fresh.


Asparagus, Radish and New Potato Salad


For the Salad

1 unwaxed lemon – pared zest of half

1 small bunch fresh mint

450 grams baby new potatoes

450 grams fresh green asparagus

½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

150 grams halved radishes (with stalk and tail removed)

approx 50 grams pea shoots or other salad leaf

For the Dressing

4 x 15ml tablespoons buttermilk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 x 15ml tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from the pared lemon)

1 x 15ml tablespoon chopped fresh mint from the bunch

2 x 15ml tablespoons chopped fresh chives

¼ teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes (or a pinch of fine sea salt)

a grinding of black pepper (plus more to taste)


Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan.

Steam the potatoes, along with the pared zest from half the lemon and 2 sprigs of mint from the bunch, for about 20 minutes or until tender.

You can either wait until the potatoes are cooked, and keep them warm, having removed the water from the bottom of the steamer, so that they can sit and dry out in the heat, without a lid on, or proceed directly to the asparagus while they steam.

Cut the asparagus into approximately 5cm lengths discarding the woody ends, and put into a large shallow roasting sheet with the half teaspoon of sea salt flakes and the 3 tablespoons oil. Roast the asparagus for 10-15 minutes or until tender and just cooked through. If they are skinny, they might need no more than 6-8 minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, discard the mint; I lazily let the lemon peel stay in the salad, though by all means discard if you prefer. And once the asparagus is cooked, remove the tray from the oven, and tumble in the potatoes.

Add the halved radishes and the chopped tarragon, mixing everything together well. Leave to one side to cool down a little while you make the dressing.

In a bowl or measuring jug, whisk together the buttermilk, Dijon mustard, lemon juice from the pared lemon, chopped mint and 1 tablespoonful of chives, along with the ¼ teaspoon of sea salt flakes and grind of pepper. Add the dressing to the warm roasting tin and toss well to mix, combining it with the fragrant oil in the tin. Check to see if you want any more salt or pepper.

Arrange the pea shoots on a large plate or shallow bowl, and then add the dressed asparagus, potatoes and radishes


Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Makes 4 average sized jars


1kg rhubarb, washed and sliced into 2 cm lengths

1kg caster sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

75g fresh ginger,  peeled and finely chopped or grated


Place the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a bowl, stir and cover and set aside for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to combine.

Once all the sugar has dissolved in the rhubarb juices transfer into a preserving pan or deep saucepan and set over a medium heat.

Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and then bring to the boil.

Continue to cook until the rhubarb is really tender and it has reached a setting point – this will probably take about 10 – 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave for 2 – 3 minutes and pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately.

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© Arran Eco Savvy 2024