Your Guide to Our 5 Favourite Wild Greens
Here at Wild Food Cafe, we are loving the onset of spring weather (at last!). The farmers market is rapidly moving from earthy bags of gorgeous root vegetables to heaps of greenery. Not only that but when we have the opportunity to get out into nature we are stumbling upon edibles everywhere we look in gardens, fields, and parks.
So, we thought we’d come up with a quick and easy guide to your wild spring greens. You can print it out and take it with you to your local farmers market or even the park. Or keep it on the fridge for inspiration in the kitchen. Make yourself a promise to try something you’ve never seen before, have fun, go wild!
Let’s start with a herb you probably know but propose a wildly different treatment. Coriander is an extremely cleansing green and with its phenomenal nutritional value, we can’t quite understand why it is only used as a garnish. Instead of putting 3 leaves on top of your guacamole why not use it as the base of a salad such as this http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/cilantro-salad-recipe.html ?
We also love to finely chop it and mix it with salted coconut yoghurt for a totally different spin on tzatziki. https://www.wildfoodcafe.com/wild-cleansing-sweet-potato-seaweed-coriander-fritters/
Tasting like spinach’s lemony little sister, sorrel is actually a relative of rhubarb and buckwheat. That lemony note is an indicator of its high levels of vitamin C and it’s also packed full of potassium making it great for heart and kidney health.
Naturally, it grows wild in meadows, pasture and hedgerows so in urban areas it can sometimes be found in open spaces.
Sorrel contains large amounts of oxalic acid so do be careful when cooking not to use aluminium or cast iron pans as they will react and change the flavour. Also Oxalic acid can be poisonous in high amounts so this is a herb to be used as a garnish.
We like a handful in hummus or pesto! http://www.citylifeeats.com/2010/05/16/lemony-spinach-pepita-pesto/
Or why not try adding it to a rhubarb and strawberry crumble!
Very brief exposure to heat or marinating in oil and lemon will neutralise the sting so these aren’t ones to snack on whilst foraging but there’s no need to fear for your tongue once you put them in a dish! A classic ingredient for a “wild” pesto, there are any number of creative uses adding a woodland note. Why not try using it as a substitute for spinach in nettle aloo! It can also be dried and used as an excellent tea.
We always buy radishes in bunches with their greens. Not only is the health of the greens a good indicator of the freshness and sweetness of the radishes, but the leaves also make a tasty alternative to rocket!
These are an English foraging staple as you’d be hard-pressed to find any garden not containing a good crop. The young leaves are sweetest in spring and we like to blend them up in smoothies. Being packed full of calcium, iron and even protein, they’ll ensure your smoothie is far more nutritious than any dairy-based beverage.
We could go on, land cress, cleavers and chickweed. Primrose, marigold, and elderflowers. Now is the time to enjoy the wild and wondrous bounty of mother nature.
Written by Hannah Phoebe Bowen