On our walk this morning, hubby and I noticed that the dandelions, fiddle head fern, poke, garlic, wild mustard and many other ‘greens’ are coming up. I will not try to tell you any sort of combination and I know names differ here and there, so you are on your own trying to find the right combination if you want to try it.

I have a book, Wild Edibles of Missouri, published by the Missouri Conservation Department that I use for reference in gathering many of my wild foods. You can order it from them.

Some of the ‘greens’ and such that we have eaten over a lifetime seem to be in question these days, and even deemed ‘poisonous’ in some cases. All I can say to that is, I’m still here, but be careful if you go foraging for your own. Take someone along who knows what’s safe, a good field guide, and slather on some bug spray because thre are things beides plants that can do you harm.

If you don’t have bug spray, crush up some young sassafrass leaves and wipe them on your face, hands and arms. Or put the ecrushed leaves in a plastic or glass bowl and cover with vegetable oil. You can put that in a spray bottle, and voila! Natural bug spray! It does seem to help keep mosquitos and ticks at bay.

Years back, Granny Shipman, the kids and I would go out and pick a bunch and fix a pot of greens to ‘thin the blood’ after winter. I’m not at all sure about the blood thinning properties, but I do know that that pot of greens or just a salad made from them tasted good!

Her method was to choose tender young leaves, wash them well and put them all in a big enamel pot with plenty of water to cover. bring to a boil and cook just a few minutes, then drain and rinse the leaves and start again. It takes a lot less water for the real cooking. This time she would set them on the back of the wood stove to simmer for at least an hour, adding a piece of salt pork diced up, some bacon or ham… just whatever ‘fat meat’ happened to be available at the time.

Pour the ensuing mass of greens into a bowl and sit it on the table with some cornbread, hot pickles and fresh buttermilk and you have a meal fit for royalty, I’m telling you!

I like a combination of mostly poke, with about 10 % dandelion and  fiddlehead mixed in, just a hint of wild garlic and mustard, seems to give it the right bite for me. Don’t worry if you don’t like spinach, the taste of this is not at all the same!

You can, if you so choose, add a few leaves of any of these to a regular salad mix, it will brighten up the flavor.

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