Just as the Earth emerges from a restful, slow, indulgent winter, our bodies re-awaken into Spring.
The longer days see us planning and doing more.
The warmer weather transitions us into exercise and workout routines.
The extra sun rays may inspire you to open up the windows and spend more time outdoors.
The indulgent and often fat-based dishes of the cold winter months slip away as our bodies crave the fresh spring greens that are beginning to sprout and bloom. These often bitter spring foods help our body, particularly our livers, to cleanse the load of heavier foods we were meant to eat in winter.
It is important to remember that spring is a transitional time for both the Earth and our bodies. We do not want to go from warming, spicy, heavy foods of winter, to a cold raw diet of smoothies and salads! Seek out a gentle and moderate transition, instead.
A springtime diet will support:
The Liver ~ The liver processes fat, vitamins, toxins, hormones and does SO much for our bodies. In the winter, it often works in overdrive as we may crave and eat larger meals with more fat. Spring is the perfect time to give our livers gentle support by eating less heavy foods and incorporating more bitter flavors.
The Lymphatic System ~ This vascular system within our body runs parallel to our blood and supports its detoxification, role in immune health, and the movement and homeostasis of fluids. The lymphatic system is activated through movement, touch, and exercise. Often we are less physically active in the winter. This more stagnant lifestyle can stagnate our lymphatic system. If we listen to spring’s calling, we often naturally want to get outside and be more active. This makes spring the perfect time to reactivate this system! Besides movement, certain spring edibles also offer gentle support to our lymphatic system.
Our collection of 6 favorite springtime recipes highlight perennial plants that can be sustainably wildcrafted* or purchased from a farmers’ market. While availability varies depending on location, we hope to have included enough substitute plants for everyone to enjoy these recipes ~ no matter where you live!
*Always be sure to ID plants properly - if you are unsure, it is best to NOT harvest and consume. Also, please refer to United Plant Savers to use ethical and sustainable wildcrafting practices. Never take more than you will use, and only harvest from a stand of abundantly growing plants. Leave the environment as you found it, meaning the eye can barely see that plants were harvested.
Springtime Renewal Tea
As we reawaken from spring time, we may feel a craving to “detox.” Our liver often gets overworked in winter from the fattier dishes, and the bitter greens of spring are the perfect antidote. Though it is important to note that our bodies are not “toxic” even if we feel an urge to do a cleanse. Spring time often still has cool mornings and evenings, making a warm cup of bitter tea a delicious and supportive start to your day!
2 parts: Dandelion greens
2 parts: Nettles
1 part: Violet leaf and flowers
1 part: Calendula
1 part: Red clovers
½ part: Mint leaves
Fresh organic citrus peel (optional - though a great excuse to have a quick citrus snack before brewing your tea!)
Gather these herbs either fresh or dried. Use caution with fresh nettles! Mix together in a large bowl. Place 3 tablespoons of dried herbs in a quart size mason jar, or place a handful of fresh herbs in the bottom of a quart size mason jar. Pour near boiling water to fill the jar and place the lid on top as it steeps for a minimum of 1 hour, up to overnight. Strain and enjoy.
Brewing Tips: A french press also makes a great vessel for steeping herbal teas. Serve your tea warm, or chilled over ice.
Spring Green Salad with Edible Flowers
Chicory/Radicchio ~ This delicious perennial vegetable adds a nice refreshing crunch to a salad. The red version, known as radicchio, and the green version, chicory leaves can both be a bit bitter.
Dandelion Greens & Flowers ~ Yep, take a peek in your yard or the farmers market for this bitter green often thought of as a pesky weed. Be sure not to overwhelm your salad with too much raw dandelion greens. The flowers are best enjoyed if the petals are picked off and added in.
Fava Greens Yes the leafy green from fava beans! Homegrown or found at the farmers markets.
Miners Lettuce ~ This green must be wildcrafted as it is difficult to find at markets. It grows abundantly, and as a perennial here in Central California. Mild flavor.
Ramps ~ The wild version of leeks found in the mountainous Eastern states- can be substituted for another allium like garlic chives, chives, onion, or garlic. Slice thin and add to salad.
Nasturtium leaves & flowers ~ These delicious and spicy flowers can be easily grown at home. May also be found at farmers markets. The leaves are best enjoyed young and tender.
Violet leaf & flower ~ Both can be added fresh to salads. This one may be tricky to find in the market, so research how and where to wildcraft responsibly, or cultivate in your home garden.
Fennel Fronds ~ The fresh green fennel fronds pop up in spring time and can be found in the wild or at the market. Cut up and add to salad for a nice, sweet flavor punch.
Choose any mix of the above greens and flowers. Cut up your greens into bite size pieces. Remove any stems from the flowers. Toss together for a truly seasonal, nutritious and refreshing salad. See below for a delicious dressing option.
Other perennial plant inspired recipes:
- Gluten Free Woodland Shortbread Cookies - yes, delicious cookies with trees in them!
- A sun-protective smoothie - refreshing and satisfying after a day spent outside
- Learn how to cook with seaweed! Recipes, tips, and tricks in our free downloadable guide here.