Category Archives: Food with weeds

Early Manitoba Spring Harvest

Spring arrives quite delayed here in the North. Though we are on the south edge of Manitoba, our growing zone is still close to 3, which means any head start we can find, such as micro-climates, warming the soil, providing shelter or greenhouses, the sooner we get to taste delicious, organic produce.

What I have discovered though, is that Nature has adapted quite well to this climate, and provides all the nutrients our body needs in the earlier months when we still get a potential frost at night. What follows is a short list of some  wild or perennial edibles in my garden! You will be surprised, that you may have some growing as well!

Stinging Nettle. A favourite among wild foragers. Grows in rich soil, spreads with creeping roots that are invasive. Prepare cooked as stingers will disappear after cooked or dried. Use in stir-fry’s, smoothies (raw), soups,  sauces or pesto’s as you would spinach.

Pansy’s. Not exactly wild, but a resilient, self-seeding plant comes out with flowers before the tulips and daffodils! The flowers are edible and kids love to add them to salad!

Day Lily leaves. The whole plant is edible. Tubers, flower buds and open flowers. We often enjoy the flowers as a snack during a day in the garden. The leaves are great in a sauté. They have a hint of lemon flavour. They appear wild in many places throughout N. America. Learn more here from Hank Shaw.

Bergamot, Bee Balm or Wild Oregano. Before it sends up it’s lovely purple flowers, this full flavour spice is a welcome addition to our meals.  I often forget to use it because we also grow oregano. But I know this plant grows wild here in MB and it has so many health benefits! It will cure a scratchy throat in no time! I plan to get creative with this plant this spring/summer!

Strawberry leaves! This is a new one for me. I have only heard of the medicinal uses, dried as a tea. Have yet to taste them. But these hardy perennials are green before the snow melts! They just love our climate! Already in reproduction mode, they will be producing berry’s soon enough! Check out this helpful health info.

Yarrow! I have yet to eat them as a raw green, but I have heard that when they are young, they are much less bitter!

Also available in my garden are Dandelion greens, Poppy greens, Mint, Holly Hock leaves, Chives and Green Onions, Cherry blossoms (soon) and likely others I am not even aware of! I look forward to the creative mixtures we come up with in this urban family farm!

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Tasty Nettle, Urtica dioica

Spring! It’s finally here in Northern Canada. After a long winter, of plenty of rest and hibernation, it’s time to clean the house of your body/mind/spirit. It is the time for renewal and new growth! Stinging Nettle will help you clear out toxic influences that cloud your way.

In Oriental Medicine, spring is associated with the wood element and the liver and gallbladder organ energy systems. The imbalanced emotion is anger and the balanced state is the ability to think through, make decisions, plan and put them into action. Have you noticed that when your plans get thwarted, the most common reaction is anger?

“When in doubt use Nettle!” – David Hoffman

I am blessed to live in the city and be surrounded by Nettle. I have it growing naturally along the rich soil of the river bank as well as filling in my whole raised garden (because it loves manure). Once you have it, it will take over, so beware! Of course the best time to collect this treasure is spring when the nutrients are strongest.

Early spring is also a good time to collect some roots such as dandelion and burdock as all the sugars are still tucked in the ground ready to push up and out into the plant.

Fresh Spring Tonic

Rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, K, calcium, potassium, iron and many other trace minerals.

Combine fresh Nettle, Chickweed, Cleavers and Dandelion root and leaf with added mild spices or ginger for a soothing, energizing drink.

Steep as a tea or blend as a smoothie for an extra jolt of minerals and pure energy!

This drink helps remove accumulated rubbish from the body caused by much inactivity over the winter months.

To learn more about the healing properties of Stinging Nettle check these sites,  Herb Wisdom,  Dr. Axe

To fall in love with this powerful plant, listen to Rosemary Gladstar!


Evening Primrose for Hormonal Health

Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis

Believe it or not, it seems as though every part of this plant can be used. The leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens. The roots can be boiled like potatoes and allegedly taste like sweet parsnips. The flowers are sweet and can be used in salads or as a pretty garnish. The young seedpods can be steamed and the ripe seeds can be roasted in an oven for 15 to 20 min. at 350° and used on bread or in salads. You can also sprinkle the roasted seeds over any dish like pepper.img_4171

Ways to use Evening Primrose

This beautiful plant is known as a woman’s herb. It is especially helpful with PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, depression and irritability.

Apparently evening primrose oil is an extremely rich source of an omega 6 fatty acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Getting enough GLA is crucial to support overall hormonal function within the body. In fact, many women with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) struggle to convert the fats they eat into GLA.

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When you make a salad dressing or are eager to get some omega’s in the form of Flaxseed Oil and Evening Primrose, please make sure your oil is fresh. Flaxseed oil goes rancid quickly, and I learned the hard way. Taste your oil before mixing with precious seeds!

Since I learned the hard way. Here is another way to use those precious, mood boosting seeds!

Hormone Boosting Avocado Dip/Dressing

Mix 1/2 avocado, 1 Tbsp of fresh ground flaxseed and 1Tbsp ground evening primrose, 1 tsp dried wild greens (such as smartweed, mallow, nettle, plantain), dash salt,  2 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup water 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp honey, and 1/2 cup (more or less) olive oil.

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