In the spring and early summer, nature provides an abundant harvest of wild edible plants for anyone to pick. One need not go far to find fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients for salads, seasonings and herbal beverages. Natural herbs are available for gathering even in early spring, long before cultivated plants are ready to be used. The season is short, however, because the green parts of plants are at their best before flowering begins. Nettles can be harvested throughout the summer and will continue to grow new, fresh shoots. Lady’s mantle will also grow back after flower heads are removed. One should remember to avoid gathering herbs near high-traffic roads and in industrial or heavily populated areas.
The lady’s mantle, dandelion, rosebay willowherb, and leaves of arctic raspberry are examples of natural herbs that can be enjoyed in fresh salads or on bread. Wild-growing leafy herbs are also freely available to use as an ingredient in various sauces, stews, soups, and roasts or casseroles. Natural herbs can be dried for later use and perhaps ground into a green powder to be used as a nutritious additive to other foods. Wild herbs can also be frozen so that their flavours can be enjoyed all winter long.