Wild Things

They make my heart sing…and detox my liver, cleanse my kidneys, boost my immune system, and more! Seriously, it’s pretty amazing what Mother Nature has provided for us – it seems to be just what the body & mind need for the season. Wild edibles are packed with nutrients and wonderful flavor, you’ve just gotta know when and what to pick! Hopefully my handy guide (specific to Shelter Island’s spring and summer, but I have faith a lot of these “weeds” are everywhere) will help with that.

Wild Edibles

The easiest way to eat wild foods is to wash the flowers, leaves, stems and roots, boil ’em, simmer ’em and drink ’em as a tea. That applies to things like clover, dandelion, dock, mugwort, nettles, and pineapple weed.

Some things are simply delicious raw, and can just be added to your salad – sweet clover, lamb’s quarters, purslane, sorrel.

And other foods require a bit more preparation, but don’t let that throw you off! For example, nettles are like a full body cleanse, you just have to take the simple extra step of steaming them before eating them! If you have enough of them, maybe you can become a green, enlightened being.

Without further adieu, I present a wildly delicious, easy to prepare, nutrient dense meal:

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Nettle Soup

2 spring onions
1 large bunch of nettles
1/2 cup millet
few sprigs of lemon balm
salt and pepper
*roasted chickpeas

In a large pot, saute your spring onions. Then fill the pot about halfway with water, and add in the nettles. Bring to a boil. If your nettles are young and tender, you can use the leaves and stems; if they’re a bit larger, just take the leaves off the stems and pop ’em back in.

Add in the millet, bring the broth back to a boil, then simmer until the millet is fluffy and tender.

Pour everything into your blender and give it a whizz. Pour it back into your soup pot, and flavor with lemon balm, salt and pepper.
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I happened to top my soup with roasted chickpeas, which is a great way to add a legume to your meal. Simply roast cooked chickpeas for 30 min. at about 350. Spice any way you’d like, these have salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.

Serve with a salad of lamb’s quarter and a side of braised ramps, wild onions and garlic mustard.

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