It is April 23rd (Happy Earth Day yesterday!) and I am patiently awaiting Dandelion greens, Wild Violet leaves & flowers, and Wild Leeks (heading out, soon, to see if they are popped up enough to dig). It has been a long winter and a hard won Spring for us Waaaay Northern New Yorkers. Today is day 3 of sunshine and no snow floating down. The ground is finally bare save for a few pockets of the "white stuff" here and there on the northern sides of trees, hills, etc.Read More
Wild Leek, Herb, & Local Veggie Soup
Simple and took me about 20 minutes to make, including the cleaning time for the wild leeks.
Early in the day I put out to thaw about 1 1/2 cups of each of these frozen veggies from my winter veggie CSA :
- red, orange, and yellow pepper pieces
- orange cherry tomatoes
I brought 4 1/2 to 5 cups to a boil and poured into my Vita Mix blender.
Add the white parts, set green leafy tops aside for later, of 15 or so wild leeks and blend into a puree.
To the Vita Mix liquid add:
handful of fresh rosemary sprigs from the window sill herb pot
handfuls of sage & oregano and the leaves off a long sprig (5-6 inches) of thyme - all herbs in the garden that are up and ready for use
Blend all this green stuff into the wild leek liquid.
Pour green liquid back into pot on the stove. Do not turn on heat again
Add in the completely thawed veggies and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt.
Cover pot and leave until dinner time. I made it about 1 1/2 hours before dinner so the flavors could meld together for a short while.
Tomorrow night I will add a can of organic chickpeas to the leftovers to change it just a little bit.
Optional add ins:
- fresh chives scattered across the top after you ladle into the soup bowls.
- garlic chives blended into the broth.
- any fresh herbs you have in the garden. I have parsley but I did not want to disturb the small patch this early in the season.
- fresh, tender dandelion greens.
- wild violet leaves from the yard?
- harvest wild violet flowers just before serving and sprinkle across the top with the chopped chives. Violets add in some awesome, local Vitamin C for spring rejuvenation!
- I would have added frozen sweet corn kernels and cauliflower pieces but I seemed to have used all of those frozen CSA goodies.
Serve with whole grain bread, butter, & cheese. If you are lucky, and we were, serve up a local baby green salad. Spring pleasure food!
Grab what you have on hand and create a simple spring soup to enjoy in this untimely hot weather! Share what you threw together and tell us if it was yummy!
I grow nettles in the "flower" bed up against my home. I have been asked on many occasions: "What person in their right mind would plant nettles in any flower bed and the bed right up against the house?" The answer is obvious to me; I am not in my right mind and who wouldn't plant nettles so close to the house? They are oh so close when I need them for soups. stews, stir fries, pesto, tinctures, medicinal infusions, etc.
Now here is the double edged sword with this situation: they are close at hand but these 'lil buggers like to run and take over the world just like mints. They create this under soil runner that, well, just runs, and runs, and runs spiraling out of control. I spend the spring pulling the renegade nettles out of the rest of the flower bed in front of my home. When I planted them, 5 years ago, I politely asked them to stay in their space on the side of the house. I even dug down into the soil and planted sandstone pieces to deter them from running. They out smarted me.
As aggravating as this can be, I do have a steady supply of spring nettles that I do not feel guilty about pulling. I snip the leaves to eat and plant the runners along the yard's edge hoping for yet more nettles to eat and make medicine with.
I have made mention of my Spring difficulties around food. All winter I graciously and gratefully eat local cabbage, root veggies, and squash. I save my frozen local summer veggies to tide me over when I can no longer stand the thought of a root veggie and cabbage slaw. Yes, it does happen. (My winter leftovers are waiting to be made into sauerkraut when I can dig enough wild leeks to enhance this kraut batch.)
I yearn for local food: asparagus, greens, fiddle heads, peas, strawberries...
To survive until the local food is bountiful once again, I buy food from California. There, I confessed. The above salad is Romaine lettuce, celery, carrots, and juicy red peppers from California. I also buy non-local fruits: mango, banana, kiwi, citrus, and canned organic pineapple. I am desperate for neatly gift packaged sunshine to tide me over to the local food scene. A ripe mango has a serious amount of sun waiting to burst out of its skin. I bow my head in gratitude to the people, the trees, and the soil that brings me these gems to keep me happy.
I plopped the above salad down in front of my kids, minus the nettles of course. They would have flipped had I expected them to eat Nettles! (They did each have a small spoonful that they chucked into their mouths and barely chewed before swallowing. Someday they will appreciate the things I have exposed them to...) Here was my salad response:
"Finally, a real salad. No more nasty cabbage - root veggie slaw! Yay!"
Poor kids, they suffer so.
"Wow, Mom broke down and bought something that didn't grow within 20 miles of our home."
When do they learn to not harass the person keeping them in food?
Tip for the day: Get outside. Snip some nettles. Hey, dig some wild leeks and saute' them together, ever so gently. Enjoy the taste sensation, the local wild food, and the spring nourishment for your body. Oh yeah, don't bother sharing with the kids!
To create your own female energy spring fling:
Join the Female ♀ Moon Cycle Wisdom Training
Tuition, this year, stays at $72 Bucks in honor of My Mom,
an awesome female, & her Birthday (April 17th)!
Every year I find myself in this same space: longing for the wild foods of spring. Above I am digging leeks on 4/16/13 and the field of leeks and box of leeks pictures are from 2014. I am anxiously waiting for the leeks to pop their 'lil green heads up again this year.
The return of the leeks means many things to me:
- spring IS here,
- summer will follow sooner than the wait from winter to spring (so grateful for this!),
- more wild foods and flowers will be popping out of the ground daily, and
- my body is in sync with nature!
Wild leeks are nature's medicine. (Who am I kidding? All wild plants are nature's medicine!) They have similar healing qualities of garlic: immune boosting, good for blood pressure, a blood and spring tonic, cold and flu remedy, and the leaf and bulb juice is good for ear aches and infections.
Wild foods are the gifts that our bodies need after a long cold winter. They provide green food, vitamin C (and so many more vitamins and minerals), stimulation of the liver to open and cleanse the heaviness of winter out of our digestive tract and ultimately our body cells, and vital life force energy to up our internal level of vibrancy.
Soon to look for:
Violets are rich in vitamin C, a much needed vitamin after a long winter. Vitamin C helps in the spring detox and the upward movement of life force energy. Violets are rich in enzymes, chlorophyll, vitamin A, carotenes, rutin (helps maintain blood vessel strength and integrity), and many more nutrients.
Nettles are, by far, my favorite plant (and I love all the plants!). It is one herb I would add to every herbal healing blend for its nutritive properties. Nettles nourishes each and every body cell, helps to build strong bones, nourishes the glandular system, aid the reproductive tract (pms, migraines, prostate, libido builder), great for allergies and asthma, and just about any and every ailment I can think of. This is because of nettles high nutritional value; when the body is nourished the body heals!
Um, Um Yum... dandelion greens and think liver. Dandelion is a bitter tonic for the liver helping with digestion and helping with the spring cleanse out of winter heaviness in our cells and life force energy. Dandelion is very high in nutrients (again, good for cellular health and build bones), is a mild laxative, and is good for skin conditions to name but a few of dandelion's virtues. Spring brings us this flower and the leaves to eat at just the time our body needs it. Nature is so wise!
Sorrels are from the genus Oxalis. Oxalis means "sour" and is named due to its high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid is considered "toxic" when consumed in large quantities because oxalic inhibits the absorption of calcium. Oxalic acid is not considered a problem when consumed moderately and with a varied diet. Many domesticated vegetables, including spinach and broccoli, also contain oxalic. People who are challenged by gout, rheumatism, and gallbladder and kidney stones should avoid it.
Sorrel is rich in vitamin C (the sour and vitamin C again contributes to the spring cleanse of winter's stagnation in the body). Traditionally it has been used to treat scurvy, fevers, urinary infections, mouth sores, nausea, and sore throats.
If you have never been one to grass your front lawn or the fields and woods near your home... I encourage you to find a good guide book with pictures, descriptions, and healing information and get foraging.
Remember the forager's ethical principle: take only what you need and make certain to leave plenty of plants so they can reproduce and repopulate the area you are wild harvesting from. If you take all the plants you are creating a micro-extinction in that area.