Monday, April 29, 2013
the end of april
Well, here are those pretty spring blooms I promised a few weeks ago. In the final few days of April, we are starting to see major signs of spring. Leaves have started unfurling, the grass is greening up and dandelions are popping up here and there. As a studying herbalist, I have a soft spot in my heart for dandelions.
As we worked to prepare our beds this weekend, I dug up all of the dandelions to use in the kitchen.
The dandelion greens made it into our first spring salad of the year along with mixed lettuces from the local market, slivered almonds, and a few overwintered carrots that looked a little pale but still tasted fine.
We also foraged some wild garlic to add to the salad. It's easy to find this time of year. Please note that if you're not familiar with wild foods, you should always have someone in the know help you ID the plant. Believe it or not, there are poisonous wild garlic look-a-likes, though they don't smell of garlic.
Dandelion greens are bitter, and this is good for the body, particularly in spring after eating heavy food all winter. Bitters are great for your digestion and easy to consume when added to a salad that is mixed with sweet lettuces. I also mixed up a sweet vinaigrette to temper the bitter greens a little.
A Spring Salad Dressing for Bitter Greens:
2-3 TB olive oil
1 TB raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 heaping Tsp dijon mustard
1 spoonful of raw honey (Thank you, honeybees!)
1 small tsp. of fennel seeds (also good for digestion)
Our heirloom tomato seedlings are looking good, and that's spilanthes in the front right of the frame.
Two kinds of peas have been soaked, inoculated and planted: Cascadian snap pea and Laxton's Progress #9. I always like to have both snap and shell peas on hand. We like to freeze the shell peas and reserve the pods for making stock.
Our brassicas (broccoli, variegated collards, Red Russian kale, Lacinato kale, green and red cabbage) are planted and protected with their little cutworm collars. We are looking for ideas of something we can interplant between them other than lettuce. If you have any thoughts, do let me know in the comments.