Spring Nutrition

I LOVE the change of seasons.  By the time we're in the middle of a new season, I'm ready for the next and the wait until the end just makes it that much sweeter when it arrives.  Spring is here at last and we've been soaking it up with gardening and foraging.  Do you indulge in the gifts of spring?  This is an excellent activity for the whole family and brings a wonderful [free] bowl of nutrients to the table.       EatingFlowers_02

First, a nice spring side salad of dandelion greens and flowers, violets, spring beauties, and some arugula from the garden graced our dinner plates earlier this week.  What a nice mix of colors, no?

EatingFlowers_04EatingFlowers_05

Today, we picked dandelions, violets, spring beauties, and spearmint then added garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese for a fresh - no-nuts - spring pesto  (there are numerous ways to make pesto and no right or wrong way).

EatingFlowers_07

Then whipped up some quick fresh pasta with a little added violets just for fun.

EatingFlowers_12

Cooked it up quickly with some "farm-raised" chicken (yes, that's our rooster in there... and as "awe, poor rooster" as that may seem - I assure you this farm-raised rooster was treated much more pleasantly than any chicken you'd find in the grocery store... It was, however, getting incredibly territorial and ruffling up near our kids, so after giving us 6 new baby chicks it has graced our dinner plate multiple times this week and gave us about 8 quarts of chicken broth).

EatingFlowers_14

Served with some fresh maple-mint limeade (sweetened with maple syrup rather than 'simple syrup') we tapped just a few weeks ago.

MapleTaps2013_07

How's that for fresh, practically-free, delicious nutrition?  What can you find in your yard that is edible?  I'm sure you have way more than you think!  And many are also medicinal as well.  Think violets, dandelions (and you've been paying for these?), spring beauties, chicory, plantain (not the banana) - and that is just a small amount that almost everyone has in their backyard.  You may need to lay off mowing for just a little bit to enjoy this yard salad, but the benefits are worth it for health and on the bank.

Always be safe when foraging for food.
There are numerous safe plants to eat, but be educated before you grab anything and start munching away.
As Samuel Thayer says, "If you need a book to identify an edible plant, you're not ready to eat it."