spring harvest in Paris : 2


early APRIL  ::   wild garlic | dandelion leaves

— WILD GARLIC (ail des ours, or bear's garlic in French), named such for certain bears' affinity for it, is related to chives and grows wild in shadowy woodland soils. The leaves, bulbs and flowers are all edible... and give added spice to spring salads. The leaves are also wonderful added to a melange of spring greens you intend to wilt in a drizzle of olive oil, or go ahead and make them into a pesto.  It seems the leaves quite closely resemble those of the Lily of the Valley, which are poisonous, but by rubbing a leaf of bear's garlic between your fingers, you'll easily recognize the pungent scent of garlic. Rich in Vitamin C, it is recognized for its medicinal properties: the bulb can be used in syrups and decoctions, the leaves and onions in elixirs, a wine can even be made from the leaves boiled in a bit of white wine and sweetened with sugar.. Sipped throughout the day, it's good for that spring congestion.

— DANDELION, that lovely bitter leaf from the Asteraceae family of the Chicorieae tribe (which includes lettuce, chicory, salsify) is another spring green chocked full of vitamins and minerals. Picked in spring before it's yellow flowers bloom, and often again in autumn, what can I say... it is bitterness "royale." I just made a creamy risotto w/ dandelion leaves and a broth infused with green garlic. It was quite a success.
And here's an interesting gardening tidbit, from Wikipedia :
"The dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen."

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