Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Perennial Vegetables

We choose perennial flowers for our gardens because they come back year after year. How about perennial vegetables? Nature provides many of these green "provisions."

The spring begins with dandelion greens that can be dug out of your front yard (assuming you don't "chem" your lawn.) Wild leeks live in the woods, so require foraging in the forest. Egyptian or walking onions are poking their pointy tips up in the herb garden. Now that last year's onion supply is gone, use fresh green onion leaves from your garden in all your cooking, whenever a recipe calls for onion.

Now sorrel is showing up. I have French sorrel and buckler's sorrel in my herb garden to make a delightful lemony green soup. Acidic soil around here grows sheep's sorrel in profusion--tiny, tart leaves that can be added to a salad for zest.

Nettles are next. Wear your nitrile gloves and cut the top few inches of green, which are mostly not stinging--yet. It is said that the 12th century Tibetan saint, Milarepa, lived on nettle soup for decades. Nettles are rich in Vitamin C, iron, and also contain protein.

Fiddlehead ferns are beginning to uncurl, so go harvest them now. (The ostrich ferns with the brown papery covering. Not the fuzzy-heads.)

Perennial philosophy--wisdom that cuts across all religious traditions--also sustains us. For instance, the Golden Rule is found in all the world's religions.

Just for today:
Practice doing something for someone else as you would like another to do to you.

Practice not-doing something that you would rather not happen to you. (e.g., that brilliant stinging comment.)

Perennial vegetables sustain our body. Perennial wisdom sustains our mind.

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