12 May 2015
Make a Wild Salad
I know many of you have already been getting out into the garden and woods to harvest the edible wild plants this spring. With so many abundant edible “weeds,” making a wild salad can be a simple, quick dish that delights the eye as well as the palette.
To make an easy wild salad, I usually pick one mild-tasting, wild edible herb for the foundation -- like chickweed, violet, or lambsquarters. Of course, it's fine to mix in some fresh, local spinach or lettuce leaves to get you started.
Then throw in smaller quantities of dandelion leaves, ox-eye daisy leaves, and/or other strong-flavored wild edibles that you’re familiar with. If you have violet or dandelion blossoms blooming nearby, by all means, garnish your salad with those beautiful blossoms!
Your wild salad can be constructed entirely outdoors, with no washing or pruning required. Bring your bowl or basket with you to gather your edible weeds; harvest the clean, vibrant green leaves and break them into bite-sized pieces.
Back inside, feel free to top with any nuts, sweet onion slices, or cheese crumbles that you enjoy. Since almost all store-bought salad dressings are made with low-quality oils, I like to dress mine with a simple homemade mixture of olive oil, with a favorite vinegar, garlic (powder or minced), and a pinch of salt.
Enjoy your fresh, delicious, nutritious bounty . . . and remember: wild plants make wild women!
"Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.
The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers. These insights have been made possible by new technology that has allowed researchers to compare the phytonutrient content of wild plants with the produce in our supermarkets. The results are startling.
Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a 'superfood'."
~Jo Robinson, New York Times, May 25th 2013