There are abundant and varied gifts in each of the seasons but Spring takes my breath away as life emerges from seeming barrenness. Vibrant tender Spring green edibles begin blanketing the earth. Violet flowers are poking their smiling faces above Falls leaves…heralding Spring. This surge of life is palpable and even dizzying with the remarkable daily changes as nature’s wave begins to pick up speed.
Celebrating this dance of life & Spring offerings were 10 wild women that attended Saturday’s wild food feast where we focused on just 10 edible wild plants to keep it ‘memorable’.
We learned, foraged, garbled, cooked and ate with these cast of Characters: Violet, Dandelion, Chickweed, Yellowdock, Mustard, Stinging Nettle, Wood Sorrel, Wild Onion, Wild Lettuce.
Since Spring greens are such a valued commodity as a Spring cleaning tool, we created a New York Style chopped wild salad with 4 wild salad dressings. Below is our menu, the hyperlinks will take you to the recipes:
Spring Fling Menu
Spearmint Tea / Blueberry Sparkle / Peppermint Tea
Wild Hummus w/ Pita Chips
Here is a picture of my kitchen before the guests arrive. Stations are set up, demonstration area prepared, refrigerator stocked with wild teas and meads.
Each class begins with a short teaching. The Spring Fling teaching encompassed my Spring thoughts, a few foraging basics, and a challenge to ride the wave of God’s free edible gifts through the ever changing seasons. We discussed the importance of focusing on one plant at a time. Taking each plant through it’s paces: infusing oils, vinegars, dry for teas, eat in salads, green drinks, stir fry, boil in soups, pop in casseroles, fritter, make it into flour and fry up a wild tortilla, make honeys and jams… Experience is the best teacher.
In the kitchen I demonstrated how to make
1. Nourishing infusions
2. Herbal Vinegars
3. Herbal Oils
4. Wild Salad Dressings with the vinegars and oils
5. Wild Hummus
6. Wild Pesto
Reenergized with the wild hummus and carrot sticks snack we went shopping in God’s grocery store. Each student was given a 5 x 7 card of one plant, a grocery sack and a grocery list to collect on our plant walk.
As I pointed out each young leaf the person with the matching card would read the info about that plant and it’s nutritional facts (from Linda Runyon’s book The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide) Working our way around my land we filled our baskets with Stinging Nettle, Poke weed (early early leaves less than 10 inches tall!!!!!), Sorrel, Dandelion, Violets, Wild Onion, Mint, Chickweed….
All this was then carefully GARBLED. Which means sorted into piles of the different plants, debugged, cleaned if needed…
Learning about wild edibles is challenging because there are details to learn that matter. We are reclaiming forgotten common knowledge that used to be known and practiced as a daily reality by our ancestors. Today most of us know not to eat the leaves of the Nightshade family (ie, tomatoes and potatoes..) and everyone used to know when to harvest what wild food at the peak of it’s energy or what part of a wild edible plant is edible and what is not, or which are only edible at certain times of the year…. little details that are learned best by doing. Anyone that has eaten a green banana and had the moisture sucked out of their mouth in the process, learned that green is too early, black bananas are too late and yellow is just right. I’m all about reclaiming this lost knowledge and eating from God’s free gardens safely and at the peak of each plants energy.
Everyone cooked their own recipe from the Nettle frittata to grinding the roasted Dandelion roots for ‘coffee’. Joy Lewis boiled up a mess of Poke greens for us to sample. Phenomenal! It always amazes me how so many cooks in one kitchen can get along so well and the food actually end up on our plates. Team effort!
Lunch was wildly delicious. Thanks to Jennifer, Jane, Lorien, Vanessa, Lumini, Mary, Nita, Sheri, Cheryl and Elaine for joining me for the first Wild event of Spring.
I’ll be teaching the Spring greens class again on April 14th so as to expose as many people as possible to the powerful nutritious gifts of early tender Spring leaves. Each season I will offer two classes on the evolving gifts of that season, twice. Dates will be posted on my website and eVites will be sent in advance.
“You give to us in due season. You give and we gather it up,
You open Your hand and we are satisfied with good!” Psalms 104:27
Roots & Shoots
Buds & Blossoms
Berries & Wines
Fruits & Nuts
Pods & Seeds
Roots & Trees
Harvest in Winter
“God makes everything beautiful in it’s time” Ecclesiastes 3:11