It happened overnight. The wild weeds surreptitiously poked their heads out of their moist shady environs and with that one simple act proclaimed it open season on stinging nettles, dandelions and chickweed. Stinging nettles are dark green on tall stalks and are very prickly (like my sister) and require rubber gloves when picking; dandelions pack a double whammy – deeply toothed leaves with their signature yellow flowers. Chickweed likes to lay low. It’s small leaves and tiny white flowers perched neatly on a tangle of thin stems.
So what are you waiting for? Search out those wild greens, but don’t be greedy. Don’t forget about the 10% rule when foraging. Take only 10% of the plant in question at any given plant site.
Chickweed is great as a garnish and excellent in salads. Not so great cooked as it tends to slime up.
Dandelions are good raw in a salad or steamed drizzled with olive oil. And let us not forget about dandelion wine – a delicious fermented beverage.
Nettle stings when touched as it is covered in tiny hollow hairs that contain formic acid. Wearing rubber gloves, take only the top 15 cm which is the tenderest part. Nettles are never eaten raw but rather steamed like spinach.
I used to see the word “Tisane” and think it sounded ever so exotic but it simply means a tea made with fresh herbs.
Nettle tea is especially pleasant and nicely herbacious without tasting like lawn clippings. It is said to be a great spring tonic good for the liver and blood.
Go to your secret nettle spot and, wearing your famously attractive rubber gloves, pick the nettle tips. Back home in your sunny test kitchen rinse the nettles in cool water. Boil water, place a gloved handful of nettles in a teapot and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes or to taste. Enjoy with a little bit of honey. Your liver and blood will thank you.