TEACHER TIPS – Spring up to fresh food

Spring is that time of year when we celebrate new life and growth, such as fresh and newly sprouting plants, after the inactivity of the winter. It is also a great time to take a closer look at growing and cooking food as a class.

Get some spring in your step

  • Explore the local area or school grounds and take photos of new growth and buds.
  • Share with the children favourite words and images depicting spring. Create a class display. You could include your images of the flowering bulbs and newly sprouting plants from around the school, or develop children’s understanding by including images of, or profiling different seasonal foods.
  • Build students vocabulary by talking about words associated with spring, for instance ‘tender’, ‘shoots’, ‘sprouts’ ‘growth’ ‘seedling’ ‘sprig’ ‘bud’ ‘bloom’. Some of these words have more than one meaning to explore. Use our food word bank to describe seasonal dishes.

Get growing and get cooking

Spring is a great time to start planting fresh vegetables to be harvested later in the year. Some easy ones for a school or small garden or containers are basil and other herbs, spinach, potatoes, beetroot, carrot, peas, broad beans, rocket, salad crops, tomatoes, brassicas, radish, pumpkins & squash (late spring) onion sets & spring onions. You can get some help with growing in school with the school gardening campaign.

Leeks, parsnip, kale, purple sprouting broccoli are all harvested in the spring and are great to grow and cook with. Try some of our suggested spring recipes and encourage the children to keep their Olympic cooking skills record up to date. If you need to brush up on skills, they can also take our skills masterclass.

Other seasonal vegetables, fruit, meat and fish include:

Asparagus, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celeriac, Cucumber, Savoy Cabbage, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onion, Watercress, Gooseberries, Rhubarb, Beef Steak, Chicken, Sausages, Spring Lamb, Crab, Haddock, John Dory, Lobster, Mackerel, Monkfish, Prawns, Sea Bass, Sea Salmon Trout, Turbot.

Suggested Spring recipes

Here is a selection of great spring recipes. If you are a beginner cook, keep it simple and get tips from our guide. You may want to add photos of your favourite spring recipes to your class display. 

For cooks aged 5–7 years

Cheddar Cheese and Broccoli soup

Celery and Leek Soup

Chicken Broccoli Soba Soup (take care with the chilli!)

Haddock & Kale Kedgeree

Leek & Ham au Gratin

Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Cauliflower Spiced Rice

Smoked Salmon and Broccoli Pasta Bake

Potato, Spinach & Chickpea Curry

Salmon Bake

Salmon with Herb Tomato Baked in Foil

Poached Rhubarb Granola


For more experienced cooks or those aged 7–14

Bacon, Leek and Sweetcorn Puff Pie

Cauliflower Pakoras

Leek and Goats Cheese Pancakes

Pork & Spinach Gnocchi with Peppers, Tomato & Chilli

Poached Salmon with Crisp Vegetables and Rice

Baked Salmon with Lemon, Parsley & Asparagus

Teriyaki Cod with Tenderstem Broccoli

Poached Rhubarb Sticks