At this time of year, one of my favorite things to do is to grab my basket and head out into the woods and fields to pick wild edibles for meals. In fact, they can become quite the staple for us, being added to nearly every meal. It's a great way to eat seasonally and, thus, better align oneself with the Natural forces at work throughout the year. Plus, there's just something so rewarding about going outside and picking your meals.
These are a few plants that grow, well, like weeds. They're common throughout all of the US, and even if you live in a city or town, you more than likely have one or two growing in you yard. Together, these make a delicious Spring Salad, complimenting eachother's flavors. Spinach can also be added to fill out the salad more, but it isn't necessary.
I recommend a delicious home-made salad dressing to for this salad. A heavier dressing, like Ranch, goes well as it covers the slight bitterness. A lighter oil based salad will add to the taste of the salad, while not taking away any of the inherent flavors. Enjoy!
Dandelion: taraxacum officinale
The entire plant is edible: blossoms, stalk, leaves, and root. it's highly nutritious, containing nearly every trace mineral. Also a blood builder and purifier; it is excellent for helping to rid the body of toxins. And, as it is a diuretic (the root is best for this,) it is also helpful in getting rid of excess water weight.
The entire plant has a bitter taste, with the root being the most bitter. The blossoms have a sweet, tangy taste (though, still a bit bitter,) and can be used to make wine. The older leaves are the most bitter, but contain more nutrients. The younger leaves have a more vegetal taste, but contain more amino acids (necessary for repairing and creating new
For our salad, we want the leaves and maybe a few small blossoms for color. Choose leaves that are bright in color, without any discoloration or bug holes. Blossoms should be fully open, containing all petals, not at all wilted. These leaves will be the basis of our salad, making up about 3/4 of it.
Plantain: plantago major
This humble little plant has a high tannin content, making it a great stringent useful for stopping bleeding of small cuts. The fresh juice is also used to help stop Poison Ivy rashes and will clear up warts.
It has a high Calcium and Vitamin B content. Like Dandelion, it's leaves can also be cooked like spinach or added to soups, but it's best eaten raw.
The seeds have a high mucilage content that makes them a great laxative, but they can also be used to stop diarrhea The leaves can also act as an appetite suppressant and will freshen the breath.
For our salad, we want the leaves only. Choose leaves that are bright in color and slightly waxy. Avoid ragged, bug eaten leaves and any with discoloration or spots. You want enough leaves to constitute about 20% of your salad.
Yarrow: achillea millefolium
Another herb great for removing toxins from the body. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and as a catalyst, increasing the potency of other herbs. As such, and because it is such a versatile and health benefiting herb, it is used to help treat many conditions.
It is also useful in treating bleeding and haemorrhaging, and for pain relief as it contains salicylic acid, from which aspirin is derived. It is also useful in treating colds.
The leaves are light and feathery and have a peppery taste. The essential oil and tincture both have a beautiful blue color.
For our salad, we want the leaves. They make a nice contrast to the other plants, both in taste, but also in color and texture. Look for leaves that are dark green, devoid of black spots or patches and have all of their little "feathers." Gather enough to make up about 5-10% of your salad.
Throwing the Bones