I hope everyone is enjoying their late spring/early summer. I certainly am! This time last year, I was the size of a blimp, waddling everywhere, and reluctant to wander far for fear of falling or making my back ache worse than it already was. Ah, the joys of third trimester pregnancy… My self-guided foraging and herbalism studies went on hold until, well, this year! This year, I have some more freedom to move around and explore the forest and fields around my home. Bee is starting to find ways to entertain herself, so I have a little more time to develop my knowledge and hobbies (when I’m not preventing her from climbing onto shelves and tables…). If only I had known last summer – there are so many edibles literally inches from my door!
A few weeks ago, I shared my positive experience cooking with dandelions in cookies and fritters. Dandelions are very common and arguably the most easily recognizable edible you can forage, but don’t stop there! With the help of identification/ foraging books and websites that contain excellent written descriptions and photographs, you can add more delicious and healthful plants to your diet – for free.
I came up with a fun and easy option to put everything together for a light lunch: Early Summer Greens on Toast. Along with the greens and flowers I foraged, I also include herbs from my garden, and some produce from the grocery store. Hey, I’m not entirely self-sifficient, but this is a start!
- young, tender dandelion leaves
- young, tender plantain leaves
- chickweed leaves, flowers, and tender stems (I can only find the mouse ear variety near my home)
- ground ivy leaves
- wood sorrel
- pineapple sage
- chives (including blossoms if available)
- organic tomato
- locally harvested fiddleheads
- wholewheat bread, toasted
After washing everything and chopping the tomato, I sauté the lot in a shallow pan with olive oil. Cook on medium until the fiddleheads are tender. Greens reduce quite a bit, so if you want more, you’ll need to harvest much more than you see in my basket. The fiddleheads add texture while the tomatoes add more flavor and color. The basil, chives, sage, and ground ivy add quite a bit of flavor themselves! My salt-loving husband never adds extra seasonings to this dish! Serve on toast to give everything a nice, crunchy base. Enjoy the taste and savor your growing knowledge of the land.