Featuring work from Angie Mobley this week not only brings her, as a writer, several thousand new fans from my site, but also, because we are a small coalition of writers, she'll have exposure on several other sites as well. And because as writers we learn from and enjoy our comments so much, Angie will have three days after her article appears to choose the comment she finds most relevant and interesting. That commenter will receive $1 to put towards a payout at $8, and may even receive an invitation to write here too!
Without further ado, here's Angie, with her topical article on using Nature's Spring Bounty!
I am a forager. I eat weeds. And I like it! Actually, there’s a comfort in knowing that if something drastic happened, I’d still have recourse to being able to still provide nutritious edibles for my family. It is an art, something that I enjoy being a part of passing down to another generation. My parents taught me how to identify some of our local plant edibles – the rest I have learned through research.
Of course, the plant life varies from region to region, but I want to highlight some of my local plants that are available in spring. You just might recognize most of the common ones.
Have you ever had a watercress sandwich? It’s a high falutin’ appetizer in some upscale restaurants.
Watercress grows in areas that have running water -streams, for instance. Its cousin, land cress, looks almost identical and tastes the same as well. It has a bit of a zing to it, almost like the heat of a radish. This makes a great addition to salads in its raw state, and also serves as a tasty pot herb when sautéed or boiled. Besides tasting great, it’s full of Vitamins A and C.
It can be identified by its distinct rosette growing pattern and dark green, glossy leaves. Most of the time, because it emerges in the cold weather, it’s probably one of only a few plants that are green during that period.
Here’s a picture of one of mine.
Aren’t they cute?
They are very distinctive in appearance and quite easy to identify. Always double-check by plucking and taking a whiff. Smell like onion or garlic? It’s good. This is a good precautionary check as there are plants that are similar in appearance that might be poisonous. As with all foraging, until you are comfortable with identification, make sure you check with someone who is knowledgeable.
Collect your plants in areas away from drainage areas or areas with nearby traffic flow. Ascertain, too, that the area is not being treated with pesticides.
It is delicious added to salads raw, but it can be cooked as well, tasting like spinach. This is very rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and others.
This is usually quite abundant as it grows in piles or mats.
A good resource for positive identification is www.wildmanstevebrill.com.
There is also a yellow flowered variety, but this is not a good one to eat as it can cause stomach issues. The leaves can be eaten raw or added to soups. Cooked, they are slightly mucilaginous.
They are a great source of vitamin C and a tincture can be made with them as they can be used as an expectorant. Because the dainty violet is so beautiful, it is sometimes used as an edible garnishment on pastries or salad plates.
Brushing them with an egg wash and dipping them in sugar makes for pretty candied flowers.
In the meantime, take a walk and see if you notice any of these plants. You’ll look at them in a whole new way. Just be careful going on an empty stomach!
Let me know what your experience with foraging is. Do you forage for wild plants, mushrooms, berries, roots or nuts? If you don’t now, do you think you’d ever try it if someone showed you the ropes?
A picture of my narcissus – these are NOT edible! I just think they’re pretty!
Wishing you a safe and beautiful week and hope to see you back again on Friday for Vicki's Spin.