April to May is the hungry gap – winter veg are over and spring sowings are yet to come online. This is when perennial veg come into their own. Asparagus is busting through right now, for example, with all the vitality of spring, having stored summer energy in its underground crown.
Sorrel is a leaf that is a spring tonic, full of minerals, nutrients and liver cleansing compounds (not to be confused with West Indian sorrel used in tonic drinks, a completely differnt plant from the genus Hibiscus). It’s like eating pure chlorophyll, the essence of spring sunshine. It has a lovely lemony taste that has to be acquired, as does the murky khaki colour it turns on cooking. However, it’s great wilted with buttery new potatoes, or made into a soup using either potatoes or a haricot type bean as a thickener. Very soon it runs to seed, though, looking like the dock plant with rusty reddish flower spikes; they’re both Rumex. Humming, all I ever got was sorrell.
Woody herbs yield at this time too: thyme, marjoram, savory. The leaves can easily be air-dried. Parsley, also a tonic and apparently rich in symbology back to the Greeks, often puts on a spurt. I like it simply minced with tomatoes, oil and salt to appreciate its flavour.