Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring leaves

Happy Spring! Doesn't it feel good to feel warm sunshine and smell that tender green spring smell?

I recently went on a plant walk with Amber Westfall, a gifted teacher who specializes in foraging wild edible foods. I highly recommend her walks and workshops if you're in the Ottawa area. Did you know that a surprising number of wonderful foodstuff is available on your doorstep? We visited a local urban park and unearthed many edible goodies, such as garlic mustard, maple blossoms and stinging nettle.

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It inspired me to hunt down my own wild edibles. I found a huge patch of nettles just off of one of my favourite bike paths. And both garlic mustard (which I have been battling for years, as it's an invasive weed) and maple are right in my backyard.

Harvesting mindfully, I gathered enough nettles to make a wonderful spring tonic soup. Nettles are extremely nutritious and have many medicinal uses. Of course, gloves are a very good idea when harvesting nettles!

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Spring nettle soup
4-6 cups of tender spring nettles
2 onions, chopped
6 cups of broth (I especially love using nourishing bone broth)
4-6 potatoes, cubed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

Sauté the onion and garlic in a generous glug of olive oil. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and nettles. Lower heat to a low simmer. Cook till the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and finish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

I also pulled up some garlic mustard from my flower beds and made a yummy pesto:

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Garlic mustard pesto
Large bunch of tender spring garlic mustard
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts*
1/2 cup of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything in your food processor or blender and mix till it gets creamy and lush.

* You can easily substitute with more economical nuts or seeds, but I do love the rich creamy taste of pine nuts here. Just be sure that your pine nuts are not from China, or else you could get an unpleasant case of pine mouth. I speak from experience here. Not fun!

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It's so nourishing to eat seasonally and locally.

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Makes me very excited for what's to come:  raspberries, wild strawberries, wild roses to make this cake, burdock roots, black walnuts, crab apples....

I've been reading a wonderful book on growing, foraging and cooking wild foods. Whole Larder Love is a beautiful book with tons of wonderful recipes.

spring leaves

Food for the body and soul. Have a wonderful, wild weekend!




18 comments:








Gudrun Johnston

said...

I've always wanted to try making a nettle soup and haven't done it yet! This post is inspiring me!
Also your photos are so beautiful....what camera are you using?





nicole

said...

Thanks Gudrun. My camera is a Nikon 5100. I LOVE it!!





Evelyn

said...

It's a wonderful skill & practice to be able to identify edible greens on our nature walks ~ lovely post!





Brittan

said...

great post! I love nettles and nettle soup is a great way to enjoy them! I was sad when I had to leave my nettle patch when I moved... But someday I will have another! spring is such a magical time of year, isn't it?

-little owl

p.s. would you mind if i posted a couple of your photos on my pinterest?





Aline

said...

Yummy! Glad you warned about pine nuts. I had no idea.





Sonia / Cozy Memories

said...

Hello sweet Nicole,
oh how I missed you in this space, thank you so much for your blog visits.
I had heard about pine mouth, but thankfully pine trees grow here & we can find them locally.
Loved your photos, the light is so good, the last 3 are so good !
Sending you warm hugs, hoping you're doing fine.
xoxox





v

said...

i was SO excited when i noticed on my blogroll that you had published a blogpost today!: )

beautiful and inspiring post as always dearest nicole.
a friend of mine served me nettle soup last year (together with her homemade bread) and it tasted so incredibly good. maybe i should dare to try myself too...

when you have the time (and of course if you don't mind)can you please share with me what type of yarn and color that gorgeous yellow beauty in your image are?

wishing you a refreshing and lovely spring,
v





Indie

said...

Yay! Wine in a juice glass and native edibles...two of my favorite things.





Emilie

said...

I love that photo of your couch, and chair, and the little plants in the back...
the rest sounds delicious too :)





Lori ann

said...

thank you for the lovely recipes (i've never made nettle soup!) and beautiful BEAUTIFUL photos.





Lori ann

said...

oh, and would you be able to share the recipe for the delicate little knit on the couch too?





karentempler

said...

The soup and the book both sound like they're worth trying!





Julie Crawford

said...

That sounds so spring-y and delicious- I love nettles! (Except when they take me by surprise). And the photos are the epitome of 'relaxing weekend'. Love it.





andi

said...

I always find that by visiting your blog, my soul is nourished. The images just make me feel at peace.
Thank you for the lovely soup recipe!





Delphine

said...

amazing! i wonder if i can find edible plants at my local park too :)





Annie @ knitsofacto

said...

Oh, you're here (happy face!)

I love nettle soup, and nettle tea ... have you tried it :)





Lynn

said...

Thanks to you I went on a walk with Amber yesterday, thank you so much for sharing. We have no garlic mustard in Alexandria area which Amber says is a blessing but gosh it's tasty!

I don't know how you find the time to knit such intricate beauties but you are very talented and so inspiring.

Have a beautiful week,

Lynn





Margie Oomen

said...

i love it all
i hope you will be in ottawa when i visit in june. Arounna will be there too for a glebe craft show.