How to Know What Greens are Edible | Foraging in the Spring
Spring is bursting with new blooms of chickweed, miner’s lettuce, dandelions, fiddleheads, and more. The act of foraging (finding, identifying, and harvesting) connects us to the earth and its ever-shifting seasons. Plucking food directly off the vine, plant, or tree makes it more delicious because its nutrients are at its peak.
Wild foraging for edible spring greens is a fun, easy, and free way to spend quality time with our loved ones exploring the outdoors; a delicious and nutritious scavenger hunt. Foraging helps us slow down to reconnect to the seasons, the environment, and loved ones.
A few of our favorites are Miner’s Lettuce, Dandelions, and Wild Nettle. Keep reading for more information on where they grow, nutritional value, and the best ways to enjoy these spring greens.
Where it grows: Lightly-shaded forests at the base of larger trees
Edible Parts: Flowers, leaves, and roots
Taste Profile: Mild taste, similar to spinach with a refreshing crunch
Best Uses: Salads, sandwiches or on its own
Health Benefits: Two cups of miners lettuce has 33% of the daily recommended of vitamin C, 22% of vitamin A, and 10% iron per serving
Other Names: Winter Purslane
Must try recipe: Miner's lettuce salad
Where it grows: Most common weed in most lawns. Found in virtually every kind of grassy area, from urban lawns to forest and coastal settings.
Edible parts: Yellow flower, leaves, and roots
Taste Profile: The leaves are bitter, with intensity increasing over the summer
Best Uses: Everything from sauteed leaves to mixed greens for salads, or creating homemade bitters
Why Eat Dandelions: They are packed with vitamin A, E, K, B6, B2, B1, and C. Dandelions are also an antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory properties
Other Names: Lion's tooth
Must try recipe: Homemade Dandelion Bitters
Where it grows: Nettle grows in moist woodlands, along shaded trails, coastal and river shoreline. Be cautious when harvesting nettle, the leaves will sting, causing a burning sensation. If stung, look for the nearby dock plant to rub the sting with its leaves.
Edible parts: Leaves, stems, and roots.
Taste profile: A cross between spinach and an artichoke
Best uses: It’s a great substitute for spinach
How to eat: Always cook nettle.
Why Eat Nettle: It’s an excellent blood purifier, a mild laxative, and extremely high in vitamin C.
Other Names: Stinging Nettle
Must try recipe: Wild Nettle Spanakopita
Wild Nettle featured here on the right
Keep Spring Greens Alive
Keep spring greens fresh long after they’re picked by wrapping them in Abeego. Abeego beeswax wraps shields the light, keeps in the natural moisture, and lets spring greens breathe, keeping their crunch.
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