Alexanders are available for most of the year, though their flavour changes throughout the year. They are best picked from February (just before they flower) until June (just after flowering season).
Leaves grow in groups of 3 and are green and glossy, coming from a thick, hollow, rounded central stem. Alexanders flower in March with umbels of little yellow flowers at the top of the stem.
Alexanders grow abundantly in coastal areas, along coastal paths, roadsides and hedgerows.
Alexanders have a divisive flavour. It is similar to celery or even fennel but intensely aromatic. It is very bitter and increases in bitterness as the season goes on. The bitterness later in the season can be a bit too much to palate raw, however the flavour can be somewhat tamed through processing. Despite their divisive flavour, we love using them in the restaurant. One way we frequently do this is by pickling it, the acidity and sweetness of the pickle usually tones down the bitterness a little. We also BBQ the leaves and thinner stems and then dress them heavily in lemon juice, we then garnish them with pickles and herbs and include them on dishes such as our winter taco.