Every spring when the first greens get out from the winter coat, we go to the fields and collect them. It has a great nutritional value and your body needs it after gloomy weather. Keep reading and I will share 5 edible spring plants that you can find right after your foot.
From a young age, I learned from my mother that you can pick edible plants in your backyard. She taught me about amazingly delicious food growing in the wild and how to farage it. When me and my sisters were little we were going to the forest as if it was our garden and collected plants for salads. And the best thing about wild plants is that it’s free and organic, so you don’t have an excuse not to try it.
Naturally, it became so usual for me to forage plants that when I am in nature I always eat what’s below my foot. I have taught many friends to eat plants as well and it became natural for them too. So maybe we are designed to eat plants after all? I wrote a post about a plant-based diet a while ago and you can read it here if you are interested. ;))
But now, let’s start with those edible plants I want to share with you. Foraging is easy, I learned it from showing it to many people and seeing how easily they learn it. You can mistaken a certain plant few times, but when you memorize it well you’ll know it and start teach others how to forage. It’s simply in our genes.
Dandelions ( lot. Taraxacum agg.)
The dandelions are very common plants and you should know it from your childhood when every spring you probably made wreaths from it. They have toothed leaves and that’s why they have a name ‘Dent de Lyon’, which literally means tooth of the lion. Dandelions are easy to find. But they are less bitter when you collect them as young as possible.
It’s great to mix them into your morning smoothie or you can add them to your salads if you don’t mind the bitterness.
Ground elder. (lot. Aegopodium)
Gardeners know ground elder as an invasive weed, but fewer people know that young plants are actually edible. You need to pick them while they are still small shoots and their leaves are unfolded. At this stage, they have a glossy green color that helps you to pick them out. It is the leaf stem than the leaves themselves that are more valuable, so pick them off as low down as you can manage.
You can either cook them or eat raw. It has a lovely juicy flavor.
Wild Chervil (lot. Anthriscus)
Wild Chervil or Cow parsley is found covering wide areas wherever humans have not worked out the land. It looks similar to carrot leaves and that’s the first feature people notice when I show them these plants.
!But Cow parsley has a very look alike plants. The most worrying are Fool’s Parsley, which is poisonous, and Hemlock, which is deadly. Be sure you pick the right one!
Young leaves taste much milder and it’s a great addition to the salads. I prefer to eat it young while it’s the first plant to grow after the snow melts. You can also chop it and sprinkle over potatoes as their flavor is very mildly and similar to parsley.
Stinging Nettle (lot. Urtica dioica)
The Stinging Nettle is unlikely to be a stranger to anyone who has ever set foot in the countryside in Europe. It is also one of the most important leafy wild foods. Stinging nettle is a vitamin and mineral-rich food source and also contains a surprising amount of protein. You can also make a pleasant tea from nettles leaves.
Nettles were traditionally dried and fed to livestock throughout the winter. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia (yes, it has a lot of iron). Nowaday it is a great addition to soups and smoothies.
It’s best to harvest the young etops of the plant and its branches because the stems are thought. But please, use gloves for picking them!
There are also special folding techniques to eat nettles raw but I don’t recommend it unless you saw someone doing in person. It’s much better and easier for most of us to bald the leaves to soften the hypodermic, histamine-injecting hairs. And only then add it to your food!
Sorrel (lot. Rumex family)
Sorrel looks a little bit like spinach. But it has a tart, lemony flavor and you would never mix them with another plant after trying it. It is a source of vitamin C and iron, and you can make a great soup from it. We also add them to smoothies and salads. They truly liven up the food you add them to!
Happy foraging, friends, and let me know how did it go for you in the comments below. ;))