by Kaare Melby
The world has turned green! With the warm weather, and some rain (finally) all of the plants are booming with growth.
The dandelion greens are getting bitter, but they are putting out their beautiful yellow flowers. These often despised or ignored flowers hold delicious culinary opportunities, such as jelly, wine, or even battered and fried! Jelly is one of my favorite dandelion flower treats, I have often described it as tasting like sunshine. Others say it tastes like honey. Here is a recipe I found if you would like to try making it: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/246823/dandelion-jelly/
Another wild food that has sprung forth is spruce tips, which are the new growth at the ends of spruce trees. These yummy tree-greens are high in vitamin C and taste slightly of citrus. You can eat them raw, cook them like a vegetable, dry them for tea, or make them into jelly. There are a ton out there right now, but they will soon mature and become woody and unpalatable. So don’t miss your chance to give them a try!
And last, but not least, the plantain leaves have started to appear. Plantain is a very useful medicinal plant that helps with pain, cuts, and burns. But it is also an edible green. Add it to salads or cook it like any other leafy green. Plantain is a plant that came to America with European settlers and has been well known as a useful medicinal herb in European cultures for a very long time. It’s even listed as one of nine sacred herbs in a 10th-century manuscript: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Nine_Herbs_Charm
There is a bounty of wild foods out there right now, so make sure you get out there and gather some. Before you know it, the gathering cycle of the year will turn again and there will be a whole new set of wild foods to gather!