Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrate Beltane with a Wild Wood Salad

What is a better way to celebrate the ancient Celtic feast of fertility than by preparing a scrumptious salad!


Beltane is observed on May 1st, but the festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. This feast coincides with the Nordic spring festival known as the Walpurgis Night. Both festivals have deep roots in pre-Christian veneration of nature and are surrounded with an aura of mystery and magic. 

To celebrate nature I wanted to share with you a recipe that I found on a wonderful holistic blog. If you are unable to gather wild herbs and flowers, use mixed baby leaves, baby kale, sorel, arugula and various garden herbs, and decorate your salad with edible flowers.

From The Root & The Vine blog:

Wild Wood Salad is a combination of edible flowers and wild crafted plants such as Yarrow leaves and flowers, Ground Ivy, Plantain leaves, Chickweed, Mint, White Dead Nettle, Marigold flowers, Clover, Cornflower, Borage and Pansy flowers. It makes a refreshing change to those run-of-the-mill mixed lettuce salads! It is a nutritious and flavorful mix with all the added benefits of seeds and nuts. Packed with lots of vitamins and minerals to feed even the fussiest vegan! 

Ingredients

The Herbs:
  • Yarrow leaves (Achillea millefolium) 
  • Plantain leaves (Plantago major) 
  • Chickweed (Stellaria media) 
  • Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) 
  • White Dead Nettle (Lamium album) 
  • Common Blue Violet leaves (Viola sororia) 
  • Mint (Mentha Spicata) 
  • Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) 
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana) 
  • Savory (Satureja hortensis)

The Flowers:
  • Borage (Borago officinalis) 
  • Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia - aka T. signata) 
  • Clover (Trifolium species) 
  • Cornflower (Centaurea cynaus) 
  • Pansy (Viola X wittrockiana) 
  • Rose (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis)

The Seeds:
  • Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestri) 
  • Sesame (Sesamum indicum) 
  • Sea Purslane (Atriplex portulacoides) 
  • Hazelnuts (soaked in water overnight)

The Dressing:
  • Avocado Oil 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Raspberry vinegar 

Method:
  • Wash the herb leaves well. If you own a salad spinner use it to get rid of as much water as you can. Alternatively, shake them out by hand and place on kitchen paper.
  • Prepare the flowers by holding upside down and rolling between fingers to dislodge insects. Remove any stamens and styles from whole flowers (pollen can cause allergic reactions in some people). Check the petals and cut off any white portions that you see at the bottom (normally the part where it was attached) these parts can sometimes be bitter. Wash well and arrange on a paper towel to dry. 
  • Combine all the herbs and flowers together in a bowl.  
  • Spread the seeds on a tray and bake in an oven until just slightly golden. About 10-12 minutes in a medium heat. When they are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. 
  • Make the dressing by combining the avocado oil, salt, black pepper and raspberry vinegar together in a bowl and whisk. Adjust to taste. If you like your dressing more on the acidic side, add more vinegar. 
  • Add the cooled seeds to the herbs and flowers and pour on the dressing. Toss gently and serve immediately. 


Important:

*Some botanicals are unsafe for pregnant and nursing women. People suffering with kidney disease and epilepsy should research herbs before consuming. Please be responsible for your own health. 

*Never eat plants you cannot identify. Do not harvest plants sprayed with pesticides/herbicides.

*Do not eat flowers from florists. Not all flowers are edible.

* * *

I am forever grateful to the owner of Root & Vine for this wonderful recipe. I often use wild herbs and edible flowers, especially those that I foraged myself. I was blessed to have parents who taught me how to distinguish many edible wild plants. I love experimenting and always look for new ideas.

I hope that this recipe will inspire you to your own adventure with wild plants.

Wishing everyone Happy Beltane and a very exciting Walpurgis Night - in radiant health, passionately raw - Dominique

         
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