It’s good to see you all again! Over the past week, we’ve been thinking a lot about springtime. Most people think of this season as a time of fresh starts and big, optimistic plans for the future. But we think it’s safe to say that it’s been harder to focus on those things this time around.
We get that. Times have been tough. But we’d like to encourage you to embrace the season anyway. Just as an organizational overhaul can make our homes feel new again, returning to healthy habits will lead to wonderful rewards within our bodies.
A nutritious diet, plenty of water, and exercise come with more benefits than most of us probably realize. And don’t feel bad for going outside to exercise, either—fresh air is still important, and as long as you remember social distancing rules, you won’t be putting yourself or others at risk.
But let’s go back to the diet part for a moment. We all know that fruits and vegetables are healthy, right? But did you know there are some incredibly nutritious plants growing right in your neighborhood? You might even have them in your own backyard!
One of these plants is dandelion. Believe it or not, the flower, roots, and leaves of dandelions are totally edible, and very nourishing. The flowers and leaves go well in salads and smoothies, maybe with some yogurt and fruit. When you gather the leaves, make sure to choose the greenest, healthiest-looking ones, just like you would choosing vegetables at the store.
If you’re feeling ambitious, pull up the roots, clean them thoroughly, and chop them into pieces. Once they dry out, they can be used to make tea. The drink will have a bitter taste, like black tea or coffee. It will also have diuretic properties, which can be good for people with certain health conditions.
A second option is stinging nettle. Don’t let the name intimidate you; once the leaves are cooked, smashed, or dried, their stinging quality goes away completely. They’re good in smoothies, and can even be used in place of spinach in many recipes. Lasagna with nettle, anyone?
In the spring, when the nettle plants are still short, most of the leaves you see will be edible. You can still harvest them when the stalks get taller, but go for the top foot or so of leaves, since the lower ones will be older and less tasty.
Both of these wild plants are highly nutritious and completely free. But please be careful while you’re foraging. Use gloves when handling nettle, don’t take chances with allergies, and make absolutely sure you have the correct plant before you eat it. Also remember to stay away from anything that might have come in contact with weed killer or other chemicals. Foraging can be a fun and highly rewarding hobby, as long as you follow these common sense precautions.
Before we go, we’d like to give a quick shout out to our good friend, Nancy Graden. She runs the beautiful Red Clover Herbal Apothecary Farm in Amery, Wisconsin. In addition to being very knowledgeable, professional, and an all-around great person, she’s currently offering a spring herbal share!
This is a bit like the CSA we offer, but chock-full of tinctures, salves, teas, and other herbal products. If you’re interested in spring cleaning for the body, Nancy’s spring herbal share might be right up your alley!
Well, that’s all for now. Good luck with any spring cleaning you choose to do, and until next time, stay happy and healthy!