oh lawdy, the weather's getting nicer and it is time... time for lavender lemonade! i enjoy this sinfully delicious beverage all the time at home. the subtle tartness of the lemons, the delicate floral of the lavender and the sweetness of organic sugar. i've been dreaming of a way to offer lavender lemonade to all my etsy friends all winter and last night a little lightbulb went off in my head. i packaged it up this morning and it's ready for you!!! since i've been making lemonade for years, i've got all the perfect proportions for a tall glass of this magical beverage. all you've got to do is follow the easy directions. and did you know that lavender lemonade is actually beneficial to your body? okay, i know it's got some sugar in it, but for a little yellow fruit, lemons pack a powerful healing punch. They are a natural digestion aid and an all around internal body cleanser. And better yet, lemons contain powerful anti-cancer and anti-oxidant healing properties. Lavender is not only calming, but can help with exhaustion, anxiety and digestion. dontcha need some today??
this time of year there are so many hearty and tasty salad fixins' growing right there in your own yard! i thought i'd post a few of them with photos so that you can make your own delicious yard salad. as always, make sure you have absolutely 100% correctly identified these plants before you ingest! and obviously don't pick where the dog walks! there are certainly other wild greens to add to this list, but this is what you should find right now if you live in the midwest/east coast! become a forager today and remember to do it ecologically and to thank the plants as you harvest...
chickweed -- one of my favorites! to harvest this lady, just give her a little hair cut, cutting the top 1 to 2 inches off the plant. it usually grows in stands, so you should be able to get a nice bunch. the further down you go, the more stringy and chewy the plant will get, so stick with the tender tops. continue to harvest until the plant starts to flower.
dandelion -- such a great nourishing plant... especially for your liver. the bitter taste can turn people off, but right now in the spring, this gal has a sweeter and milder flavor. she has a few lookalikes, but one way i identify her is to look at the underside of the leaf and check the main vein to make sure it is smooth. dandy shaves her legs, while other similar looking plants will probably have a soft fuzzy hair along the vein. harvest a few of her leaves and chop them into tiny bits for a subtle flavor in your salad.
garlic mustard or alliaria petiolata -- this is another one of my favs! if you love a very, very mellow garlic flavor then this gal's for you. this plant grows everywhere and is considered invasive by most people. pesky or not, it's delicious! harvest the leaves. this gal is a biennial so her first year leaves are tender and mild. second year leaves tend to be a bit more bitter -- especially as the season progresses, so harvest her now before she gets too strong because right now the leaves are still delicious. garlic mustard can also be cooked like spinach or other dark leafy greens and it's super good this way too!
violet -- a nice hearty green and great salad filler (i.e. use lots of the leaves to make your salad big). super mellow flavor. this gal is so nice i wrote an entire blog about her last month. check it out. use the leaves in the body of the salad and use the flowers as a beautiful garnish on the top of the salad. both the leaves and flowers are totally edible!
ground ivy or glechoma hederacea -- also wrote about this little lady last month, so check that out. use the flowers to garnish the top of your salad and use the leaves in the salad to add a mild mint flavor. work with the top inch or so of the plant and harvest from there! now is the time to harvest this gal.
tulips -- ever tried a petal from a tulip flower... so delicious. use the beautiful spring colors of the tulip flower to garnish and color your salad! harvest the flower and then pull the petals for your salad and of course thank miss tulip (and all your urban salad fixins') very much for letting you pick her! she will be happy to live on inside of you, giving you life and vitality!
wild ramps or leeks -- one last gal i would be remiss if i didn't mention... the wild ramp. go find her today. she grows in damp areas in the woods, usually near a pond or swamp. you're going to need a digging tool to pop this lady out of the ground, because what you want to harvest is the scallion-like bulb. you could definitely add this to your salad for a little leek/onion flavor, but what i really like to do with wild ramps is make a potato soup with them and add them to my eggs, although there are millions more things you can make with them as well. as you harvest, i recommend cutting off the roots from the bottom of the ramp and putting them back in the ground where you are harvesting, that way there will be even more wild ramps next year!!!
i would love to hear how your wild salad turns out. leave a comment... ask a question and as alway, nourish your body with the nature around you.
my friend glechoma hederacea is a lovely lady. she lives in my backyard and my frontyard and i see her everywhere i look as spring unfolds. she probably lives in your yard too... but you probably know her by one of her other names -- most commonly creeping charlie or ground ivy, but also known as gill over the ground or lawn pest and/or invasive species. BUT WAIT BEFORE YOU PULL THIS LOVELY LADY OUT OF THE GROUND AND ACCUSE HER OF BEING A USELESS WEED. glechoma hederacea belongs to the lamiaceae family (or more commonly the mint family). right now in the midwest glechoma hederacea is spreading her green leaves everywhere and by the end of april/may she will be in flower. She is an early bloomer along with some other ladies out there right now like motherwort and violet and as she flowers it will be time to gather her leaves and blooms to dry and store for the cold and flu season. this gal has a long history of being used as a general tonic for colds, coughs and congestion and is very effective when used in this way. she has also been shown to be especially useful in treating asthma and also seems to demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties. the herb also has a history of being used in tinnitus, kidney disease and indigestion. and on a historical note, this herb was used by the saxons in the beer brewing process as a flavoring and preservative before it was later replaced by hops. oh and one last thing, she's high in vitamin c! i recommend exploring this herb on your own this summer. put the flowers and top leaves in a salad. gather her and dry for use as a tea. or perhaps you can pull out your anglo saxon cookbook and brew a brew!
herbal and wellness musings are merely food for thought. please do your own research and/or consult with a professional before trying herbs or herbal remedies.
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