The natural world awakes and changes come quickly, one atop the other. The ground continues to thaw, heaving areas where snow cover was shoveled or plowed, allowing frost to penetrate deeply. But soon, all frost will have left and the tortured, frost-heaved landscape will become level once again.
Plants respond to lengthening hours of daylight and warmer temperatures. Now, for those fortunate enough to have a good crop close at hand, is time for to harvest wild evening primrose, Oenothera biennis. The carrot-like, whitish root, with its strawberry-colored crown, is an excellent root vegetable. The foliage, which at this time appears as a basal rosette (leaves radiating out from a central point and spread flat on the ground), makes a fine potherb and the very young, tender leaves add spice to salads.
Dandelions, Taraxacum officinalis, appear on lawns and in gardens. The little first-of-the-year plants are yet too small to bother harvesting, but a week of decent temperatures and some sunshine will change that.
Common chickweed, Stella media, a perennial groundcover that persists over the winter, makes a good vegetable dish now when slightly steamed.
A friend who lives in
writes me, telling of having pulled a number of rootstalks of cattails and
taking the white, starch-laden shoots. These work fine rinsed and eaten raw or
chopped in salads or even in stir-fry dishes. Freeport
There are other wild edible plants available now in addition to those I’ve mentioned here. Suffice it to say, anyone with a good ration of determination could conceivably go out and gather enough wild plants for a meal.
|Basal rosette of evening primrose|