One of the first signs of Spring is the emergence of wild greens. These plants commonly known as “weeds” are some the most high energy, nutrient dense foods we can eat. This foraged salad of mallow, miner's lettuce and radish flowers is packed with Vitamin C, Calcium, Vitamin A, and minerals. Wild weeds are the trailblazers of the plant world. Interestingly, plants like miner’s lettuce were helpful for preventing scurvy, a deficiency in Vitamin C, that was common amongst many explorers and crusaders. These cooling and nutritious herbs are great for fiery pitta types like Aries, who are running so fast they might not be getting lots of fresh foods in. Keep your eyes peeled for these ubiquitous spring tonics which sprout all around us.
Common Mallow: This hearty and soft leafed plant is high in mucilax which makes it very moistening and soothing. It is high in Vitamin A, contributing to its anti-inflammatory quality. It is neutral in flavor. When steamed or sautéed like spinach it can be delicious in frittata or stews. You may also use the generously sized leaves to wrap around rice or other fillings to make dolmas! It is a good beginner herb!
Miner's Lettuce: This delicate green high in Vitamin C, iron and omega-3 gets its name from the California Gold Rush. It is native to the Western Mountain Regions of the U.S. but has since made its way to other regions. Explorers had been known to snack on these nutritious heart shaped leaves. The delicate flavor of this plant is ideal for eating raw in salad or whipping into a pesto for maximum nutrient absorption.
Wild Radish Flowers: These wild edibles are native to Asia and considered an invasive species in the U.S. They have a delicate radish flavor (similar to the radish we most commonly eat which is in the same genus). They are a great addition to salads, soups or casseroles. Sprinkle the flower into butter and stir to create a decorative confetti butter. Like many other wild plants, these flowers contain vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.