Most of my early wild edibles discoveries were by trial and error. As I got older, I discovered experts who published their knowledge and gave classes in some cases. My bookshelf contains a growing list of respected wild foods experts. The link to this information is at the end of this article.
The leaves of these early spring arrivals – and in some cases the roots – are all perfect for salad. Pick them now, in a few weeks they'll need to be cooked.
Early Spring Green Salad
1/2 cup tiny plantain leaves*
1/2 cup wild onion grass
1/2 cup tiny dandelion leaves under 2″
1/2 cup trout lily leaves
1/2 cup tiny violet leaves
1 cup lambs quarter leaves
1 cup watercress
1 cup mustard leaves
2 cups wood sorrel
1 cup spring beauty flowers
1/2 cup violet flowers – purple, yellow and/or white
1/2 cup trout lily flowers
1/4 cup spring beauty tubers
1/2 cup trout lily tubers
Rinse leaves, tubers and blossoms in cold water – a light spray is best – and drain.
Tear or coarsely chop leaves and tubers – toss, then sprinkle blossoms on top.
I recommend you taste the salad before adding a dressing – you may find that you won't need a dressing.
* if bigger than 1-2 inches, you may need to remove the stringy central vein to eat raw
Writer and naturalist, JJ Murphy, has been eating wild foods since her farmer parents pulled weeds from the veggie garden and she ate the weeds. She now lives in Harriman, NY. For information on how to identify wild edibles and for more wild edible recipes, visit: http://www.writerbynature.com/index.php?topic=Recipes