Now that we’re all experiencing milder temperatures and a lot more sun, now that spring is upon us, we’re getting to spend more time outdoors as well. Because even though we like crisp winter mornings, when it’s cold outside you just want to go in and warm up after a while. Yet during spring, things change and we’re actually dreading the moment we’ll have to return inside to do whatever it is that we have to do. The longer we can stay in the sun and soak up all the Vitamin D we can, the better. And there’s no more pleasant way to do so than by going on a long sunny walk.
At least, that’s the case when you’re a fan of hiking. Which not all people are. Some of us just get bored and especially children tend to need a little extra motivation to keep on walking. If you thought you were out of ideas to keep them entertained, if you thought you had tried it all, think again because we may just have found the perfect way to liven up your next walk. With spring also come the first flowers and plants and – believe it or not – some of those are actually edible. And if you and your kids are still looking for a fun walking activity, plucking some edibles along the way and cooking them once home might be one of the coolest things to do this spring. Not sure where to start? These 5 plants are fairly beginner-friendly but of course do always double-check everything you pluck before eating.
You might have been surrounded by them for years without ever knowing you could actually eat them, yet indeed, clovers are perfectly safe to consume! Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and you can prepare them in a number of ways. The easiest way is to add both of them to your usual salad yet there are more inventive ways to consume them as well. In the United Kingdom, people have been making clover wine since forever or you could make yourself a cup of tea with five flowers and some boiling water.
We tend to consider them as an unwanted weed but dandelions can actually be a great plant to have growing in your garden. Did you know its young green leaves taste like rocket? If that’s not to your taste, you could also very well switch out the basil in your favorite pesto recipe for dandelion leaves and make a very budget-friendly alternative to eat on your toast, on your pizza or with a bit of pasta. The flowers on the other hand can be turned into jam or you could even fry them, a little bit like fried zucchini flowers!
Honestly, we mostly curse nettles for stinging us in the legs when we’re out in the wild with shorts or a dress during the warmer months and we’ll probably keep doing so in the future. But next time we go out for a walk, we might also think of bringing a sting-proof pair of gloves with us to harvest those nettles. Nettle soup is a well-known recipe in many parts of the world but you could also sauté the leaves or turn them into yet another budget-friendly form of pesto. No matter what option you choose, make sure to harvest them when they’re still young and light green colored.
4. Wild garlic
You might already have spotted this bad boy on the menu of a fancy restaurant but if you’re in luck, you could also find wild garlic for free in the countryside. The plant is one of the most popular wild herbs of the moment and that has much to do with its subtle garlic taste and smell. We’re kind of repeating ourselves here, but whizzed together with some cheese and walnuts they’re a great, locally producible alternative to your usual Italian pesto. However, a soup or mayonnaise are also some of the delicious recipe options you could cook with the plant.
Did you know those nostalgic violet sweets are actually made from an edible flower, also called violet? If not, you do know now and you better start looking out for the tiny flowery creatures. When harvesting the flowers, however, it’s important to smell them first and to make sure they’re aromatic – if not, you’ll and up with syrup or sweets tasting like nothing at all. If actually cooking something specific from them is too much work to your taste, you could also add them to your dish for a dash of color and a bit of freshness.