Spring sees the turning point of energy in the year, from the inward dark depths of winter to the outward awakening energy of fertility and regeneration. Its a time to cast off the cold hard restraints of the winter period, and breath new life into our ideas, dreams and plans for the forthcoming months.
All around us we begin to feel lifted by those subtle increases of energy which present themselves in the buds of blossom and greening of leaves on the trees, to the wild flowers and plants pushing themselves free of the dark earth and making their gentle ascent into the light. Eggs begin to hatch and animals prepare to have their young. Everywhere becomes a display of lifes ability to regenerate.
March also sees us welcoming in the Spring Equinox, which makes up one of the four 'quarter points' of the year, alongside the Autumn Equinox in September and the Summer and Winter Solstices in June and December. Spring Equinox marks the point at which day and night become equal in length all over the world, and from there we begin again to see longer lighter, warmer days with the nights growing shorter.
Described as the Festival of Balance, the Spring Equinox (which this year falls on the 20th March) celebrates the balance of light and dark, of the suns active energy during the day to the moons receptive energy at night, and to the balance of both the inner and outer worlds. We are at a turning point in the year where we can seek to look at and work towards finding balance within our own selves, to look at the light and dark aspects of our being, and to move towards better growth and understanding of where we presently find ourselves, with a view to embracing and implementing changes we may wish to see in certain areas of our lives.
To welcome in Spring here at Green Minds, we decided this month to focus on wild edibles coming into season, and shared these in our online webinar, which took place last week. It was lovely to see both familiar and new faces as Jess and I offered up some advice and tips on taking your first steps into foraging, including sharing some of our favourite wild plants that can be foraged throughout March and April.
Its often advised to start small when setting out on your first foray into foraging, beginning perhaps with learning just 3-4 plants. Common and easily sourced this time of year, below are the plants we shared amongst our attendees at the talk:
Nettle Pennywort Wood Sorrel Cleavers
Dandelion Hawthorn Wild Garlic Primrose
For those that missed the talk, I've linked at the bottom of the page a list of resources to get you started, and also share here some promised recipes that incorporate a few of the plants above that we discussed.
S p r i n g T o n i c
This simple spring tonic is packed full of vitamin C, its great for the lymphatic system, ridding the body of toxins and also for giving you a bit of an energy boost.
I n g r e d i e n t s :
2 large handfuls of cleavers
1 handful of nettle tops (approx 10-15 leaves)
1 handful of chopped mint leaves
2 inch piece of ginger roughly chopped
Juice of one lemon
750ml boiling water
(Optional: can use honey to sweeten if preferred)
M e t h o d :
* Collect up your fresh cleavers and nettles. Use garden gloves and scissors to cut your nettles
* Lightly rinse the cleavers and nettles
* Take a large water jug or carafe (capable of taking boiling water)
* Destalk and roughly chop the mint leaves and ginger
* Place all the leaves and ginger in your water container adding in the squeezed lemon juice
* Pour over the boiling water and allow to steep for 10 mins
* Can drink warm or alternatively, leave in the fridge as a cold tonic for up to 2 days
W i l d G a r l i c H u m m u s
This punchy hummus is great as a dip with chips and veggies, dolloped on jacket potatoes or spread on crackers as a quick snack.
I n g r e d i e n t s:
1 can of cooked chickpeas
50 grams wild garlic (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons tahini
1 teaspoon cumin
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch of black pepper
Sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
M e t h o d :
* Drain and rinse chickpeas. Pour into a food processor with the olive oil and blend smooth
* Add the remaining ingredients (except chilli flakes) and process to desired consistency
* Depending on your food processor and the chickpeas you might need to add some extra oil
* Scoop into a dish and sprinkle with chilli flakes
* Serve or chill in the fridge. Can be kept up to 2 days
S p r i n g S a l a d
Bringing in flavours of the spring hedgerow and topped off with pretty florals, this is a lovely way to 'wild up' a simple salad recipe and creates a great looking centre piece for any spring picnic!
I n g r e d i e n t s :
Handful of fresh dandelion leaves and a couple of dandelion flowers
2 handfuls of pennywort leaves sliced in half
1 handful of wood sorrel
Large handful of chopped watercress
2 Large handfuls of spinach leaves
Handful of mixed seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, linseed, hemp or poppy
Small handful of chopped walnuts
A few slices of cucumber halved
4-5 cherry tomatoes halved
1 celery stalk diced
3-4 primrose flowers and leaves
Large glug of extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
M e t h o d :
* Gentle tear and combine all leaves
* Add the additional chopped salad ingredients
* Sprinkle over your chopped walnuts and mixed seeds
* Pour over a generous glug of oil
* Garnish with primrose flowers and a few dandelion petals to add a final flush of colour.
Some important notes...
Always ensure you are 110% certain what you are picking, if there is uncertainty, its best to not pick!
When collecting wild leaves, always pick away from footpaths and walkways, avoid foraging in urban areas and select where possible higher growing plants.
Spread collecting across a number of plants, only taking small portions from each, and avoid digging up or uprooting whole plants, a delicate touch is the ideal touch!
Wash thoroughly at home and ensure any wild 'residents' have had sufficient time to vacate your pickings prior to using in your recipes.
Please feel free to contact either myself or Jess is you have any questions or would like to see the slides from our talk.