Yay, Spring is really starting to show itself now! Sunny days, clear skies, temperatures rising up to 24°C, trees blooming, shoots growing, bees buzzing… LOVE IT!
Since I started changing my lifestyle last year, I feel like I’m more in tune with nature. I go to bed when it gets dark, I wake up when the sun rises and I’m more and more impressed by Nature’s cycles of birth and rebirth… I mean, how do they do that?
Did you know there are so many plants out there that you may think of as weeds — in your backyard and on your driveway, on the sidewalk, near a stream, in the forest — while in fact, they’re highly nutritious and delicious?
Wild foods often contain certain vitamins and minerals that we don’t usually get in such high concentrations from store-bought fruit and veggies. Why? Because the soil in which our food is being raised is becoming less and less rich in nutrients due to soil overuse and poisoning.
That’s also one of the reasons why many of us need to take supplements like folate and organic sulphur, since these are often only present in very small amounts in farmed foods.
So, why would you want to eat more wild foods?
#1 — Wild foods are for free! Need I say more?
#2 — Wild plants are everywhere. You know what I do when it’s Sunday and I realize I don’t have enough veggies in stock? That’s right, I go for a forest walk and collect my free veggies while stretching my legs.
#3 — They’re highly nutritious. Wild foods often contain higher concentrations of essential nutrients than farm-grown veggies.
#4 — They’re always fresh and available, especially during Spring and Summer! Now’s the time to get ‘m.
#5 — They’re unique. You often can’t get these wild nutrient bombs in regular shops.
So here’s a shortlist of my top 5 wild foods I love to use plenty + what they’re good for.
1. WILD GARLIC
The taste of wild garlic is comparable to the taste of chives. The leaves of this plant are especially high in sulphur, iodine, manganese, iron and chromium as well as vitamin A and E. Add a handful of leaves to a salad or use in quiche, stir-fry or soup to add a subtle garlic flavour. It’s also great to use in a pesto or marinade. Consuming wild garlic has a beneficial effect on your gut flora as it helps to disinfect your gut. Other benefits:
- aids with digestion
- helps prevent cardiovascular disease
- supports liver functioning
- boosts immunity
This lovely Spring weed can be used in so many ways! I like to add a few leaves to a salad, quiche, scramble or puree. The leaves taste a little bitter, but since my mom always says that ‘the bitter will make you better,’ I eat them with pleasure! And you should too, cause dandelion leaves contain high amounts of vitamin K, A, C, B6, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. This plant will help to purify your blood, strengthen your bones and protect your skin and eyes from UV damage. So ditch the sunscreen and eat your dandelions! ;)
Boost your next salad’s nutritional value by adding in a handful of orache leaves. They taste neutral and have a nice salady texture. The leaves contain significant amounts of vitamin C, K, calcium, magnesium, phoshorous, iron, zinc, selenium and tryptophan.
What is tryptophan? It’s an amino acid that helps you to relax. It’s a precursor of serotonin — your happy hormone — so it’s definitely a substance you’ll want more of!
Other health benefits of orache include:
- boosts immunity
- rich in antioxidants
- promotes healthy kidneys
- aids digestion
- improves cardiovascular health
I absolutely love pansies. They taste like (sugar-free) violet candy plus they’ll make any salad look amazing. I use them to decorate salads, soups, cakes and desserts — or I brew myself a magic blue flower tea.
Why you should use them too? Cause they’re absolutely beautiful, delicious and nutritious. Violets contain vitamin A and C, which are great for healthy skin. Pansies have been commonly used to treat skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis — maybe that’s why I love them so much :)
Plantain leaves are rich in enzymes, iron, silica, vitamin A and C. This ‘weed’ has been used for thousands of years as a blood purifier and for boosting immunity. You can eat it raw or cooked, like spinach, and use in stir-fries, salads, soups, quiche or any other dish. You can also brew a soothing tea for treating a sore throat.
So what about you? Do you sometimes go on a foraging trip? What are your favourite wild edibles? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
Want to learn more about the power of plants? Check out these top 10 plant foods to strengthen your skin from within.