22 March 2017
Spring equinox greens
Dandelion & nettles are popping up
Are you feeling the stirring of springtime? Sensing the plants calling you? We are now at equinox!
It’s been a challenging winter--recently we've seen nature’s elements freezing back tender plant shoots (or burying them in snow, depending on where you live). The herbs and flowers are looking a bit ruffled, with dead leaves around their shoulders as they are emerging from the underground time of year.
And we may feel the same way, gazing around in wonder at the world beginning to blossom around us. We may also be surprised by our own strength and resilience--like the plants, finding the stamina to survive through challenging times.
Dandelion and nettles are two favorite early spring greens for wise woman herbalists to bring into the kitchen.
A healthy addition to salad, dandelion is also tasty as a dip made by chopping and combining it with soft cheese or yogurt, garlic, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Tonifying for the liver and gallbladder, dandelion supports our bodies in filtering our blood. In the Wise Woman Tradition, we turn attention away from the Heroic focus on "cleansing," to nourishment. By calling in the support of plants like dandelion to nourish the organs that filter our blood, we embrace our bodies in an act of self love.
With its rich, buttery flavor, stinging nettle soup is a fun wild food dish to share with friends and family (see recipe in sidebar). Don’t worry, once cooked, nettles loses its sting. Just remember your gloves when you head out to the nettles patch!
With extremely high levels of chlorophyll and minerals, nettles are deeply nourishing for kidneys and adrenals. Known for building bones and supporting the smooth functioning of the nervous, hormonal, and immune systems, nettles also reduce the symptoms from allergies.
So keep an eye out for these two wild ones!
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup potatoes, diced
6 cups broth/water
3 cups fresh nettle tops
sweet white miso, to taste
Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Stir in your carrots and potatoes. After a few minutes, cover them with the water or broth (vegetable or chicken broth work beautifully).
If your nettle tops are small, you can put them in whole. If they’re larger than you would want to have on your spoon, put your gloves back on and chop them coarsely before adding to the soup. Bring to a boil and let it all simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.
Dilute several spoonfuls of sweet white miso in some of the broth mixed with cold water to bring it to a tepid temperature. Add the diluted miso to the soup bowls at the table so the beneficial microorganisms don’t get cooked by the boiling temperature.