🌱🍄It is a time of established roots and the blooming of life🌼🦋

It’s when the green is really green before the Summer scorch, it‘s the tasty moments of crispy juicy goodness and budding flowers. This is the best time to get out into your bioregions to explore new beginnings and to feel the motivation of adaptation. 

It’s a great time to nourish the body, to Spring clean, not only your closets and drawers but also your body. Here in the tropics where I plant my roots, it is also a time of transition, the rains are coming and the green is returning, the land is taking deep sips awaiting the long drink soon to come. 

👇🏽Check out a few insights as to the greens you may find around your bioregion this time of year:

Remember to bring your field guide and even better if you can find a plant walk from a local plant lover. In this musing I also will share with you some of my favorite good green recipes and if you make it til the end…. you may just find something a little special…

🌿Wild Edible Greens🥗

We are all curious about them, maybe even a little scared, but be open to the good green world… 

🧑‍🌾Some tips and considerations for harvesting:

  • Tools of the Trade:
    1. It is important to invest in a nice pair of garden snippers, I particularly love my Fiskars but chose ones that fit your hands well and hold a nice sharp blade.
    2. When cutting your greens, think about your own hair or nails. You wouldn’t use a rusty old pair of clippers on your hangnail, nor a pair of children’s craft scissors on your hair. Clean cuts ensure the health of the plant.
    3. Bring a basket and a light cloth, you don’t want to crush your harvest and sometimes you want to keep things in separate piles if something happens to be very dirty or wet. 

“Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them. Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for a life. Ask permission before taking. Never take the last. Take only what you need. Take only that which is given. Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the Earth will last forever.”

🔎🌱Know your common Green Folk🌱🔍

I know we all come from different places and your bioregion may not have what I have in mine. So I am going to just rattle off a few of the globally common ones who know no boundaries and have made their way around the planet 🌎:

  • Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale: The leaves and flowers are edible. The leaves in particular are a tasty bitter green that supports both the kidneys and liver. Cooked or raw, they can be added to salads or added to other dishes. 
  • Chicory, Cichorium intybus: A relative of Dandelion is slightly more bitter and has the same amazing properties. 
  • Chives and other Wild Onions, Allium spp.: Chives and other aliums are full of Vitamin C and Sulfur compounds which strengthen the immune system and lungs. Please check out this  link by United Plant Savers for the ethical ways to harvest the wild cousin, Ramps.
  • Purselane, Portulaca oleracea: This is one of my favorite edible weeds. It is salty and savory and loaded with vegetal  essential fatty acids . It is nourishing to both the Kidney and connective tissue. 
  • Violets, Viola spp.: The flower is the famous edible in drinks and confections but the leaves are also tasty, with slightly slimy texture, they are a nice addition to a salad. Loaded in medicinal compounds, the leaves support the respiratory and digestive tracts as an antiinflammatory.
  • Hibiscus, Hibiscus spp.: Many of your hibiscus flowers and leaves are edible. They can be slimy or sour depending on the variety.
  • Chickweed, Stellaria media: Absolutely delicious and nutritious, this delicate weed is full of vitamins and minerals, supports the Kidneys and CArdiovq and is abundant in both Spring and Autumn in some bioregions. 
  • Nettle, Urtica dioica: This one is my favorite… I mean, I tell a lot of the plants they are my favorite, but Nettles really is one. This stinging plant is so high in minerals it builds and strengthens bones, skins, hair, nails and teeth, while also supporting the kidney, thyroid and mood. Its delicious as a tea, cooked in veggie dishes or in savory pastries and it can be harvested as various times through out the year.
  • Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare: Not everyone loves the flavor, but if you do, eat it up! The essential oils are excellent for digestive health both raw and cooked. One of my favorite dishes is a salad of sliced Fennel bulbs tossed with red onion and oranges! 
  • Mint, Mentha spp.: There are soooo many varieties all around the globe. Mints are pain relieving, soothing to the digestive tract and help to wake up the mind. Some varieties can be a little skunky if you like that sort of thing. 
  • Sorrel, Rumex acetosa and Oxalis sometimes known as Wood Sorrel: both contain high levels of the sour Oxalic Acid, so they should be eaten sparingly but they add a nice flavor burst to the salad. 
  • Goose Foot aka Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium album: This is a super common weed that is also very tasty cooked or raw. 

What about in the Tropics?

  • Spiderwort, Tradescantia fluminensis and T. zebrina: That gorgeous silver purple house plant that grows like mad in my yard, its edible! Its crunchy, juicy and very high in antioxidants!
  • Moringa, Moringa olifera: Definitely one of my favorites, this tree is just about everything in the ecosystem. From edible roots, leaves and beans, to water purification to being tolerant to both drought and flood. the leaves are spicy and delicious bitter and cooked.
  • Garlic Vine, Mansoa alliacea: This gorgeous vine tastes just like garlic! It has a history of medicinal, culinary and spiritual uses to strengthen the respiratory system and ward of the evil eye. 
  • Amaranth, Amaranthus spp.: Dozens of species globally, this green also has edible seeds. It is super high in minerals and proteins and is best cooked.
  • Curry Leaf, Bergera koenigii: A distant relative of the Neem Tree this super yummy leaf is usually dry roasted and crumbled over dishes. Its carminative and savory, stimulating appetite.
  • Gotu Kola, Centella asiatica: Ok, another favorite. This ground cover Parsley relative is so delicious. With salty stems and bitter savory leaves, it is absolutely amazing cooked, juiced and raw. Its a supreme nervous system tonic that protects and strengthens the eyes and brain!!

🌸Spring Cleaning🧹

I love cleaning my house. My Taurus Moon just adores a neat and extra cozy space. It is one of the compliments I receive most about my home is that is welcoming and warm. A big part of that is having abundant pillows and welcoming colors like greens, warm blues and papaya oranges, but also that it‘s tidy without feeling sterile.

🧘‍♀️We want our bodies to be the same way🧘‍♂️

I am not a huge fan of heavy cleanses, my personal philosophy is in nourishment of the systems to do what they do best. 

It’s the heart? Let’s keep it pumping and strong. 

The skin? Let’s keep it clear and stretchy. 

So with your absorption and elimination organs we do not want to force them to do anything extreme, but we want to ensure they work well. 

We often do not get all the goodness from our food because of stress on particular organs like the Liver, Gallbladder, Small Intestine and Kidney, and most modern diets are lacking a key flavor profile, bitter, which just gets all the digestive juices flowing. And on top of it, the goodness in most of our greens are minerals, which are critical to the health of our nervous system, bones and connective tissue. 

How many times have you been told to eat more green leafy veggies? Let’s find ways to get them in your body aside from a salad or pile of steamed kale.

🥒Green Drinks🍃

Dehydrated, powdered and packed full of nutrients to support your systems of absorption and elimination. When you buy a green powder, know that the flavor is usually, well… green. 

If the formula tends to have a lot of Chlorella or Spirulina it can even taste a little “fishy”, so be mindful of what you like to taste or are super adverse to. I try to drink something green a few times a week and if I am feeling really crazy, I drink it every day. 

I will admit I don’t always love drinking green powders but when you formulate them well, they just feel so good going down. I usually do a small dose, like a teaspoon, as anything above that is just too much. But I always add my powders to Coconut Water, I live in the tropics after all, with a half a fresh squeezed lime. If you don’t have access to Coconuts or you want to stay more local, search out the seasonal fruits, specifically things like citrus, melon and berry juices and you can also add a little green powder to your smoothie. 

To increase the mineral absorption add a half a cap of Apple Cider or Banana Vinegar to your drink. That will not only get the digestive juices extra flowing, but also get your nails looking strong and help keep your skin clear.

My friend, mentor, colleague and girl crush, Adriana Ayales, the founder of the brand that made herbalism cool, Anima Mundi makes a blend I really love, her  Liver Vitality Greens  is absolutely epic! 

Green Sprinkle

Maybe you want to make something a little more savory and versatile for your dishes. A way to supercharge your plate with therapeutic diversity. This recipe is a take on the traditional Japanese yasai no furikake, a blend made primarily from dried green vegetables like seaweed, spinach, green tea leaves, sesame seeds, salt, and bonito flakes. We are just going to call this one Green Sprinkle.

I love making this and it is super easy to tailor to what you have and what you like.

The main components are herbs/greens and nuts/seeds at a 1:1 ratio. So if you have one cup of dried crushed herbs, you want to have one cup of ground nuts/seeds, if you have a quarter cup of one, it’s a quarter cup of the other.

In this recipe you are not going to powder the greens but only dry and crush them into small flakes. It is important to make sure that the plants are fully dehydrated, you can get this done in a dehydrator or on the lowest over setting on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet with the door slightly ajar. Make sure to not burn your plants! You can also dry them on a dry rack or in a paper bag, but make sure to never dry leaves or flowers in any direct sun light.

Remember that some plants are juicier than others and may take more time, so be patient and do not rush the dehydration process.

What Greens can you use? All of them!! Set a goal of at least 13 different species and remember that some flavors like Sage can be over powering.

Temperate Climate Plants

Kales of all colors and shapes, Celery tops, Parsley, Arugula, Spinach, Basils, Oregano, Thyme, Dandelion, Sage, Rosemary, Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, Chickweed, Nettle, Fennel, Chicory, Marjoram, Lemonbalm, Mint, Tarragon, Carrot Tops, Radish Tops, Chives, Leeks, etc…

Tropical Climate Plants

Gotu Kola, Katuk, Chaya, Cilantro, Moringa, Basils, Sage, Pericon, Chichipin, Garlic Vine, Amaranth, Kales of all colors, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Celery Tops, Parsley, Bacopa, etc…

If you love sea weed and have access to it, add it! and feel free to add some other spice powders like Ginger, Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin, Black Pepper or Chili Flakes. Once you have all your greens dehydrated and flaked up set them aside because now it is time to prepare the nuts/seeds. You want to blend them well into a fine crumble, a powder is not necessary. Some seeds like flax need to be stored in the refrigerator so be mindful of that. 

I usually work with: Hemp Seeds (shelled), Sesame, Almond, Chia, Sunflower, and Cashew. But maybe you also love Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia, or even Coconut Flakes and Nutritional Yeast!

Once these are ground, set them aside and take a look at your bowls. Remember equal parts. Add the two parts together and toss with a spoon. If you want to add a pinch of salt you can but the mix is already so flavorful you may not need it. 

Make your label and store in an airtight jar or bag and sprinkle all over your soups, salads, stews, baked dishes, add to dressings, sauces or to a homemade cracker or bread mix!

Green Pesto

Not just for Basil lovers, but for the lovers of all foods green! Grab the same ingredients that you love from the Sprinkle and this time blend two cups of fresh greens with 2 TBSP of the seeds, a half a cup of Olive Oil, a dash of Vinegar or quarter of a Lime/Lemon and some salt to taste. 

Blend this well and spread all over your bread, crackers, root veggies or pastas!

Green Tea

I love tea. I drink tea all day long. Nothing says deep nourishment like a Tulsi, Nettle, and Mint tea. 

If you have them fresh, take a quarter cup of each chopped fine in a 750ml French Press and pour hot water over, letting it steep for 15 minutes. Are your herbs dry? Then a TBSP each in the French Press, steeping for ten minutes. This brew will strengthen your Adrenal Glands, Nervous System, support Digestion and lift your mood. 

 

Wow well that was a lot!

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