Spring Greens Frittata

Frittata fillings from left to right: Young Nettles tops, Dandelion leaves, Chives, Spring Garlic

Frittata fillings from left to right: Young Nettles tops, Dandelion leaves, Chives, Spring Garlic

Spring is all about the greens. It's absolutely true that many nutrient-dense wild greens are available all throughout the growing season, but for me the spring is when they especially shine.  After I've spent the winter relying heavily on our winter farm share that's rich in tubers and roots, I can't wait to get outside and connect with the spring earth and fill my harvest basket with some liver-loving, chlorophyll-rich greens!

This recipe was born of necessity.  We were away for part of my daughter's spring vacation, and arrived home at dinner time with hungry kids and an empty fridge.  A trip to the chicken coop yielded over a dozen eggs, so frittata instantly came to mind. It's delicious, easy, versatile, and nutritious.  But what to fill it with?

Now, you don't have to ask me twice to forage for my dinner....although our fridge was bereft of greens, I knew our yard and gardens would be bursting with them! Our small farm is comprised of sprawling gardens, meadow (we rarely mow in order to support pollinator plants for our honeybees and also to promote medicinals and wild edibles), lots of forest edges, and a red maple swamp.  A quick foray yielded:

  • Nettles (Urtica dioica)- For food, I use the top 4-6 inches of young plants, stem and leaves. As it gets larger (reaching a foot or taller) I use the top 3-4 inches (Lvs and stems) and older leaves. Harvest with care! Cooking destroys the sting, and blending it fresh does as well
  • Dandelion Leaves (Taraxacum officinalis)- These can be harvested spring, summer, and fall. Their flavor gets more bitter as the warmer months come on, but gets more mild again in the cool nights of the fall
Spring Garlic- an excellent alternative to Ramps!

Spring Garlic- an excellent alternative to Ramps!


  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)- One of my favorite, and in my opinion, under-appreciated early spring culinary herb.  It sprouts long before 90% of my garden
  • Spring Garlic (Allium sativum)- Spring Garlic is garlic that was planted in the fall and wasn't harvested when it was "supposed" to be. Let me explain. Garlic is traditionally planted in the fall, to be harvested the following summer.  But if you don't harvest it, it will die down back to it's bulb in the fall and gloriously sprout the following spring! Each bulb sprouts, so they're kind of like garlic scallions, and they sprout long before most plants in your garden have even begun thinking about waking-up!

 

Although these didn't go into my frittata that day, here are some other lovely edible/medicinal additions (these are just a few, be creative and use your favorites!):
         -Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)- Leaves, young tops, flowering and/or budding tops
         -Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)- young shoots
         -Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)- Leaves
         -Evening Primrose (Oneothera biennsis)- Leaves

If there's one thing you will notice is NOT on this list, it's Ramps aka Wild Leeks (Allium triccocum).   This is the latest darling of the foodie world and it's not being harvested correctly. Current harvest practices kill the plant and it's a slow-growing woodland medicinal. United Plant Savers has written an article about this and added it to their "To-Watch" list. Please spread the the word and do your part as a medicinal plant conservationist! Spring Garlic and Garlic Mustard are great alternatives.  

And now, the recipe!


SPRING GREENS FRITTATA

8 eggs
1/2 c milk of choice (I used coconut)
2 cups spring/wild greens (choices are numerous- I used roughly equal parts nettles, dandelion greens, chives, garlic leaves and second year bulbs)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Ghee

To make: Sauté the greens for 3-4 min (add extra garlic if desired), then set aside. In a bowl mix eggs (lightly) and then add the milk. Add the greens to the egg/milk mix. Put a cast iron deep dish skillet on the stove and warm 2 tbsp ghee in it, then add the egg/greens mix and cook on medium for 5-7 min until it sets. Then put it in the oven at 350 to cook an additional 15-18 min. Enjoy!

 

    

Ashwagandha-Spiced Ghee

I was inspired to share this recipe after sharing it with a client this morning. This is my favorite way to take Ashwagandha and great for folks who are weary of taking tinctures, tablets and capsules.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a such a wonderful herb.  It comes to Western Herbalism by way of Ayurveda, where it is known as a Rasayana- a supreme tonic herb. It supports the nervous system and helps reduce stress and anxiety and, if taken over time, will promote restful sleep and good energy endurance during the days with fewer crashes and lows.   As an adaptogen, it also helps support an appropriate stress response, taking us from a chronic state of "flight or fight" into a state where we can better manage and roll with the day-to-day stresses of life.  It's a wonderful herb to add to your daily protocol for just about anyone living in the stress of our modern world! The addition of the spices in this recipe supports assimilation and digestion, and add a nice flavor too. It's so easy to make your own and can be a great part of a daily health routine.

Ashwagandha-Spiced Ghee

1 2/3rd cups ghee
1/2 cup Ashwagandha powder
2 tsp Ginger pwd
2 tsp cinnamon pwd
2 tsp cardamom pwd
2 tsp rose petal pwd
Raw honey to taste (optional)

Combine the herbs and ghee in a pan. Put on low and mix the herbs into the ghee as it melts. Be careful not to burn the herbs. Heat gently for 4-5 minutes. Then pour into a heat-resistant jar, like a mason jar. Add raw honey to taste if desired. Stir occasionally as it cools to ensure that the herbs are evenly mixed into the ghee. A medicinal dose is 3 tsp/day. Eat straight, put on toast, add to warn grains, put in coffee or tea, or use for cooking.

Enjoy!

10 Ways to Stay Healthy Through Seasonal Transitions: Winter into Spring

Winter-harvested Cranberry

Winter-harvested Cranberry

It's currently that weird in-between time when winter is turning to spring, and seasonal transitions are a time when we are especially vulnerable to colds and flus, as any of you who have had a dreaded spring cold can attest too! Here in New England, the weather famously goes back and forth much faster than our body's can keep-up with, and a week of warm weather in March can easily be follow-up by a blizzard. What are some ways you can stay healthy during this transition of winter to spring?

1. Stay Warm.

It's simple yes, but important. Resist the urge to leave the house without your trusty scarf and hat. Dress in layers.  Even on the "warm" days!

2. Get enough rest.

Simply put, the more rest you get, the better your immune system works.

3. Stick with routines.

It's easy to get out of routines when seasons shift, but sticking to them is of the utmost importance! Keep-up with your winter routines. Don't let Daylight Savings mess-up your sleep routines- still get to bed early.  Avoid shifting to new spring routines until spring is *really* here and the flowers are blooming and the bugs and birds have returned!

4. Emerge from the winter sloooooowly.

It's easy to jump right into things, but resist the urge.

chickweed.jpg

5. Start eating more bitter foods.

Leafy greens like collards, chard, kale, and dandelion. Raddichio is an under-used bitter green that can be eaten raw in salads and is delicious. The bitter flavor wakes-up and nourishes the liver, the organ associated with the spring.  Buy burdock root and start grating it fresh on your salads or putting it in your soups!

6. Start eating more sour foods.

Cranberries, citrus, berries, fermented veggies like saurkraut and kimchi, herbs like hibiscus and rose hips. The sour flavor invigorates and wakes-up the liver too!

7. Eat wild foods.

Any and all you can get your hands on!  Dandelion Leaves (pictured left) are quite abundant in a our area and a wonderful bitter for the liver. Cranberry (pictured above) is a wonderful wild food that is extremely sour, so also a great one for the spring. Even though these ripen in the fall, they persist through the winter under the snow and even into the spring. They're a very hardy berry! And nutritious too, ridiculously high in vitamin C and outranking most common fruits and veggies in antioxidants. They are one of my favorite wild foods. Recipes and ID tips for wild foods on this blog abound! Search the "wild foods" and "eat the weeds" tags for more!  Here are a few of my favorite wild food recipes: Wild Salad, Garlic Mustard Pesto, & Irish Nettles Soup

8. Take Digestive Bitters

Spring is an ideal time to tonify your digestive system and strengthen your organs of elimination- the bitter herbs do this.  Some nice digestive herbs to work with include Dandelion, Burdock, Artichoke Lf, and Turmeric, for a start!

Here's an easy Bitters Recipe:

Digestive Bitters

Turmeric Rt 1 part (fine to use the powder)
Dandelion Rt 1 part
Rosemary 1 part
Orange Peel 1/2 part
Fennel Seed 1/4 part

Directions: Mix your dried herbs together in a bowl.  Pour into a glass jar. Cover with vodka (100 proof is best) until you have- by volume- about 4 times more vodka than you do herb. So the final ratio you are going for is 1 part herb: 5 parts vodka.  Let it steep for at least one month, and longer if desired.  Strain and pour into a glass bottle. Keep out of direct sunlight if possible or put into an amber jar.  Take 1 tsp in a small amount of water (1/2-1 cup) 5-10 minutes before major meals.  It's fine to take them after a big meal too if you forget!

Wild Salad

Wild Salad

9. Move your body!

It's easy to get antsy and frustrated this time of year, as we transition from the quiet and stillness of winter to the upward, outward, and expansive energy of spring. Movement helps you integrate this shift in energy and "go with the flow" with more ease.

10. Consider a kichari fast

In Ayurvedic Medicine, it's traditional to do a 5-7 day fast on just kichari- a basmati rice/mung bean stew that is full of spices.  It gives your body a rest, so your organs of elimination can move-out accumulated metabolic waste and get to work! Recipe here

 

Once Spring is here, then you can start working on harmonizing with the spring. Read more about that here!

Harmonizing with the Spring

Are you wanting some support?

Consider an herbal consultation to get you "tuned-up" and ready for the spring! I can make you your own personalized bitters blend and/or herbal formula, and offer dietary recommendations, to help you emerge from the winter gracefully and in good health, ready to move into the spring and summer ahead!


Herbal Consultations

Held at Blue Dragon Apothecary in Greenfield, MA
Tuesdays & Thursdays, by appt
Initial appt $75, Follow-ups $60
Friday Community Herbal Clinic, low-cost herbal consultations $35-75 siding scale

More info on Jade, her availability, rates, and schedule a consultation here!

Happy almost spring all!.
Jade Alicandro Mace, community herbalist