Good afternoon lovely readers…
Hope you are enjoying the heat and the sun and taking advantage of this early summer-time weather we’ve been having. I’m in Ontario, and it seems there’s been a heat wave for the last two weeks or so! We’re baking. Well no, actually we’re planting!
We’ve been busy working on our big gardens outside because the goal is to grow as much of our own food as we can this year.
I’m exploring some revolutionary permaculture techniques, inspired by a wonderful book called Gaia’s garden.
Permaculture is a way of growing and living holistically, with a serious consideration for the permanent maintenance and beautification of nature as we develop food systems and harmonious relationships of growing and harvesting what we need for sustenance. Ok ~ that’s a mouthful. It’s an integrated approach.
In my journey for optimal health, I realized there’s nothing more healthy than the vegetables and fruits that are grown and picked by your own loving hands. There are also abundant medicines that nature offers us, which grow untended and wild! Some people mistakenly refer to them as “weeds”. My last post had some wild edible recipes, and I’m always looking for creative ways to incorporate these super-soil, super-local superfoods in meals.
Photo courtesy of awesome blog: Subsistence Pattern!
Some edible greens I’ve been into lately include wild celery, nettles, wood sorrel, sorrel, dandelion, and some other yet-to-be fully identified plants. I was told they were edible! Why am I so crazy over wild edibles? When I was young, my mom would take me to parks and wilderness places to pick wild berries, they were so different than store-bought, small ~ but perfect, so sweet and juicy the taste just doesn’t compare to the almost bland, watery, unripe ones that we get from Mexico or California. No wonder people started making pies, jams, and desserts with these conventionally grown fruits. The wild fruit has a perfectly sweet and ripe taste that is best enjoyed right off the branch! It can have 10 times the levels of nutrients than the conventionally fruit, yes, in that tiny package.
There is an inherent wisdom in eating this locally, and eating with the seasons. Every single nutrient is appropriately bioavailable for our bodies, exactly the way that nature intended. The first greens that come up in the spring are the most tender, they are usually bitter or spicy, and this tastes relates to the compounds in them that make them excellent for detoxing the different organs of our bodies, first and foremost ~ the liver!
Since then I’ve heard and read about them in various books which detail their benefits Wild food is such a gift, it grows perfectly, in rich undisturbed soil who’s fertility is built over many, many years ~ quite a different practice than conventional (even organic) farming. The other key here is sun energy. When you harvest something wild or directly from your garden, you usually put the herb straight to your mouth, or create a meal, it is usually used instantly. This is an amazing practice which has more depth to it than at first glance. The plant has accumulated sun, water and earth energy and stores it until the moment it is sliced or picked, at which point it is completely ready and bursting with antioxidants for your body.
Because we are accustomed to vegetables that have been harvested and shipped, we’re missing out on all that sun energy ~ studies confirm that the produce loses 40-70% of its nutrients in the first few hours (definitely greens lose more nutrients). That’s a lot!
So I urge you, when you can, to pick fresh and eat! It’s so direct, so sustainable, so local and so simple. Come, on, I’m just trying to simplify your life here :) And eat green. Now is the season, nature is giving us cues with her hues ~ green is the colour! Salads, wraps, pestos, pates, steamed greens, big green sandwiches, green juices, green smoothies …so many ways to squeeze in more greens. And drench everything in fresh herbs, to stay forever young. Herbs and wild edibles in spring and summer top the charts for antioxidant content!
This is a basic recipe for a vegan pesto, which you can substitute any herbs or wild greens into. It’s great with wild leeks (ramps), parsley, lovage, or any combination really.
Wild Edible Herb Pesto
- 1 cup soaked raw almonds/walnuts (or substitute for sunflower seeds for a lighter pesto!)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tsp rock salt
- 1-3 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lemon, zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup packed with herbs (basil, parsley, wild celery, dandelion, wood sorrel, etc.)
Drain the soaked nuts or seeds, blend everything in a food processor until smooth. Add more salt or pepper to taste. I eat it, and also bottle it immediately and store it in the fridge or freezer. You can even double or triple this recipe and can the pesto using standard canning process. It’s a great way to retain springs antioxidants for later.