Put a Spring in your Step
At last, the first wild greens are coming up, and as usual nature provides exactly what we need, just when we need it. After the sluggishness, and often heavier, fattier foods of winter, the first plants to emerge in the spring are perfect for a spring detox.
Wild plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and life force, and have all sorts of health benefits - including the walk in the fresh air it will take to find them - but you do need to know what you're picking, so look for a foraging walk near you with an expert.
And a general tip - pick high up or away from paths to avoid dog pee, and away from busy roads where pollution from traffic can settle on greenery. Only pick plants that are common and in plentiful supply, and only take what you need.
Nettle is a safe bet as it's pretty unmistakeable, loaded with vitamin c, magnesium, iron and potassium, a tonic for the blood, strengthens the stomach and liver and may help to lose resistant fat from the body - worth the odd sting!
Pick the top leaves from underneath so as to avoid stinging - or cut with scissors straight into your basket. To make a simple 'pill', fold the top leaves in on themselves, crushing the little stinging hairs until the ball is slightly damp - then you can safely chew and swallow.
Top of the list of healthy plants for the liver and digestive system. Rich in vitamins and minerals including iron and potassium.The leaves are a gentle kidney cleanser.
Roots are a gentle stimulant for the liver.
Wild Garlic (Ransoms)
The delicious wild garlic grows in shaded hedges and woodland, and gives a yummy flavour as well as antioxidant, anti bacterial and anti viral boost.
Eat the leaves in soups and salads until the flowers appear, then use the flowers in salads.
WARNING : several toxic plants look similar to wild garlic - Lily of the Valley, and 'Lords & Ladies' have similar young leaves. However, neither of these smells of garlic - do a crush and sniff check on each leaf as you pick - check all of them as these plants can grow together.
Nikki's Best Ever Nettle and Wild Garlic Soup
Here at Sura we advocate a high raw diet with plenty of fresh fruit, leaves and veg, with as little cooked food as you need - bound to be less in summer than winter. This cooked soup is warm and nurturing, appropriate for the cold spring weather, yet as the leaves are only wilted, maximum nutrition is preserved.
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks celery
- 3 carrots
- 2 potato
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 litre of water with 1 TBSP vegetable bouillon powder.
- Large handful each of nettle and wild garlic, rinsed and spun.
- You can also add dandelion leaves.
- A pinch cayenne, pinch mild chilli powder (optional)
- Or for milder warmth, a pinch of nutmeg.
Sauté onions in coconut oil, add herbs and spices, then veg. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then add stock, bring to boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Add the wild greens and turn off the heat - so they wilt but without being overcooked.
Add a can of coconut milk and liquidize until a smooth green velvet. Serve topped with grated hard goat cheese and a sprinkle of alfalfa or other sprouts (pictured, China Rose Sprouts from our friends at SkySprouts).