Wonderful wild greens

Hurrah, at last it's that time of year for wonderful wild herbs!

I picked stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) for the first time just a couple of years ago and have since made the most delicious soups and risottos from them. A good pair of gloves is required and it's important to only pick the fresh young leaves as the stalks can be tough and stringy. Blanching them in boiling water takes the sting out of the leaves, then they can just be treated like spinach. But they are so much richer in protein, with twice as much compared to spinach, and six times more Vitamin C. And best of all I don't even have to leave my garden to find them!

Wild garlic or ramsoms (Allium ursinum) is another favourite. Compared to the banks of wild garlic I saw over Easter weekend at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which were all in bloom, here in Herefordshire they are still young and at their best for picking. My friend Bella recommends eating them raw in buttered white bread for a full flavour experience, while I like them in omelettes and stir fries. Cooking Weeds by Vivien Weise is packed with recipes for tasty wild greens, like Stinging Nettle Rissoles and Wild Garlic Tsatsiki. Yummy!

Right. I'm off to woods to find some some more food for free ...

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