March in the Northwest means the grass starts growing once again and the weeds pop out. I am thrilled to see my old friends popping their heads out once again to say hello. After the winter doldrums of less than exciting vegetable choices behold the spring nutrition of our backyard weeds.
The other day I made myself a “Wild Greens Pita Sandwich” of Dandelion leaf and flower and Peppercress.
See if you can find some of these great edibles in your yard. My goal is to add a wild food to my meals at least once a day. Tonight I made a salad of Dandelion Leaf, Peppercress, and Nipplewort and topped it with Poppy Seeds, Nettle Vinegar, and Olive Oil.
It was the inaugural day of harvesting Stinging Nettle for the season. Here in the Willamette Valley the nettles are still small – probably no taller than 10 inches at the most. But harvesting the top part of the leaves above a node is a perfect way to ensure more will grow during the season.
My co-worker told me a wonderful way of continual harvest during the season. He goes out every couple of weekends to harvest then comes home to blanche and freeze the greens for preservation. This way he has plenty throughout the summer and into the next winter of exquisite plant goodness.
After coming home today I snipped off all the leaves from the fibrous stem and plopped them in a pot. I put a small amount of water in the bottom and turned on the heat so that they would steam and wilt. Then I will put them in a freezer bag and add throughout the season. The stems, being too fibrous, I will save in a mason jar and add Apple Cider Vinegar as I go. Nettle Vinegar is an excellent medicine and food addition.
Along my harvest walk today I was just giddy seeing all the other beauties popping up to say hello:
Oso Berry flowers and leaves
English Daisy flowers
Trillium or Wake Robin – just beginning to bud and unfurl
Chickweed (which by the way is mixed with the Nettle in the picture)
First leaves of Bleeding Heart
and so much more.