Early Spring Foraging


Gabriel planted kale for the first time this past fall. It wintered over incredibly well. Not only did it “hold over”, but grew back when it was cut. In the middle of winter!

The spinach suffered only slight frost damage. So between that, the kale, and the frozen okra, corn, canned green beans, and the sweet potatoes and butternut squash (am I missing anything?) we’ve had quite a variety of vegetables without having to resort to the grocery store.

(I just have to take a minute to brag on our sweet potatoes. As of right now, they look just as good as they did the day we dug them!)

Even if the spinach and kale hadn’t wintered over though, by this time of year, we don’t lack for fresh, green stuff.

Just this morning, Gabriel and I hacked up a bunch of innocent chickweed so we could plant lettuce (oh the irony). This stuff grows pretty much everywhere. Here’s a link with more information on chickweed.

One of my favorite greens is watercress.It’s so nutritious. Growing up, we had a creek with watercress growing in it right in our back yard. It was great. Most of the winter we had fresh, organic salad with no more effort than walking out and cutting it.

These days, I try make time to hop on my motorcycle and ride a couple miles down to a nearby creek where watercress grows (oh the hardship ).

One of the most commonly known wild spring greens is dandelion. I don’t particularly care for this one personally, but there’s definitely no shortage of it, and it’s said to be quite the powerhouse of nutrition.

If we’re talking about wild plants with amazing health an medicinal benefits, we certainly can’t leave plantain out in the cold. I’ve never actually used plantain in salads, but it makes phenomenal healing salve. A friend of mine is quite famous for chewing plantain for immediate use on bee stings.

Last but not least is Lambs quarters. Some people like this stuff so much they grow it in their garden. Personally, I’m content to let it grow wild.

Lambs quarter leaves are a little thicker than typical salad greens, and just a tad fuzzy.

These five “weeds” are part of the reason I love Tennessee so much. There’s so much edible vegetation that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to starve to death here.

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