With the mild winter, this part of northwest NJ is bursting with new, vibrant plant life nearly three weeks ahead of normal. (Do I really have to mow my lawn in March?) Seeing new green fuzz on shrubs and trees along the roadsides is uplifting as I think about all the 'fresh greens' now emerging in my yard.... which makes me think of sautes, stir-frys and my favorite: pesto! Yum!
Safety tip: First and foremost: KNOW your plants! Many toxic botanicals look confusingly similar to edible or medicinal botanicals - so DO YOUR HOMEWORK and/or have a knowledgeable botanist, herbalist or forager help identify these with you.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT use any botanical that has been sprayed with herbicide, pesticide, is found in a run-off drainage ditch or is located within 15 feet of a road. (Do you really want brake asbestos and road salt in your food?) ONLY harvest from known sources where you know that it is clean.
While there are many fresh greens in your yard that you can add to your dinner plate, today I am focusing on Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata).