April is a month of surprises; you can be fooled on day one, caught out by an unexpected downpour or two, happen upon a blanket of bluebells or crack open an Easter egg to discover yet more eggs inside.
These April favourites will add balancing freshness to the table next to other seasonal stars like roast lamb, dried fruits, marzipan and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate eggs.
If you’re out picking, not all flowers are edible and some can be very toxic. Check the RHS website and if in doubt, leave them. If buying flowers, check they’re unsprayed (organic) and free from chemicals, or opt for packs of edible flowers available online or from some larger supermarkets. They make a showstopping finishing touch to lots of dishes, but you’ll need to add them at the last minute as they wilt quickly. Alternatively, try crystallising them for a more stable decoration.
How to crystallise flowers
Holding a flower or petal with tweezers, use a small paintbrush to paint both sides with lightly beaten egg white. Spoon over caster sugar and shake off the excess. Leave to dry for 3 hrs or overnight. Will keep for up to four weeks.
Try making our violet creams, topped with crystallised roses and violets or these delicate floral shortbread biscuits.
This peppery leaf is easy to grow and extremely versatile. Use in a pesto, cook like spinach in quiches or frittatas or add generously to salads like this shaved fennel & rocket salad.
How to grow rocket
“Sow seeds in pots or in the ground, covered with a thin layer of soil, and water well. Within a few weeks you’ll be able to snip off leaves. They grow back about three or four times. Keep watering and cut flowering stems. Both flowers and seeds are edible.” Miranda Janatka, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine
For more inspiration, this quick and easy peppery pesto is delicious dolloped on pasta or drizzled over summer salads.
Look for radishes that are firm and feel heavy for their size. If they come with their leafy tops on, all the better because you can eat those, too. If you’ve got trimmed radishes and still want to make this radish smørrebrød recipe, just substitute the rest of the radishes with a small handful of soft herbs like chives, tarragon or basil.
Try adding halved radishes to a stir-fry.They’ll need about 3-5 mins so add them towards the end of cooking. Great with pork and black bean sauce.
Visit our radish recipes for more ideas.
With its crispness and subtle sweetness, round lettuce is well complemented by bitter cousins like little gem or endive in a salad, dressed in a mustard vinaigrette. Lots of lettuces cook well, too, so on a colder day try this light and flavourful soup.
How to make mustard vinaigrette
Whisk 2 tsp Dijon mustard with 3 tsp red wine vinegar. Season, then slowly add 2 tbsp sunflower oil, whisking as you go until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in 4-5 chopped chives, then dress your salad.
Try these gochujang pork belly lettuce wraps or sticky pork lettuce wraps for another delicious way to enjoy this type of lettuce.
Browse recipes for, and information on, other ingredients in season:
Seasonal food dates in April
4 April – International Carrot Day
Celebrate with our favourite carrot recipes.
7 April – World Health Day
Find lots of health and nutrition advice on our health hub.
21 April – National Tea Day
Brew fragrant flavours from our tea recipes.
29 April – 5 May – UK Coffee Week
Get inspiration from our coffee recipes for irresistible drinks and bakes.
Other dates for your diary:
1 April – April Fool’s Day
19 April – Good Friday
21 April – Easter Sunday
Check out our best Easter recipes.
23 April – St Georges’ Day
Mark the day with traditional English recipes.
28 April – Virgin Money London Marathon
Fuel yourself for the event with our Friday marathon training meal plan.
See our seasonal calendar for more inspiration.
More seasonal recipes and information
Our top 20 spring recipes
Foraging: a beginner’s guide
Spring greens recipe collection
10 recipes to make you feel like spring is here
Healthy spring recipes
Top 10 rhubarb recipes
Easter hub page