Some days at work are particularly nice, like the sunny day in early June when we headed in the guidance of Jouni Toivanen, the wild food expert, into the nature. Our worries over jump start of the summer were with no reason: the nature offered us plenty of exciting wild herbs.
I participated as a novice to the nature trip, I could recognize nettle and goutweed. So, without a cunning guide, my salad would have been quite scarce, especially when the number one rule when picking wild food is: pick only those herbs you recognize (and don’t pick right beside the road). After a while strolling in the meadow, our lunch-menu started to look promising: we found at least chive, Ladys Mantle, milfoil, fireweed, common yarrow, yellow rocket, sorrel and ground ivy.
Cooking with wild herbs is an excellent reminder how taste is formed. Many of the herbs taste quite bitter as such, but after adding other ingredients with basic flavours i.e. acidic, sweet, salty, sour and umami, we created a delicious lunch. I became infatuated with blackcurrant-pesto, an excellent seasoning for e.g. meat, which I mixed manually in a mortar - after nature experience using a regular blender felt, well, too urban.
We pick berries in the summertime, mushrooms in the fall -wild herbs bring spring to the nature’s harvesting seasons. Becoming a forager is recommendable: wild herbs are a nutritious addition in the diet. As Finnish wild herb -mentor Tapio Rautavaara said already in the 40’s: There will never be such an affluent time, that it wouldn’t be wise to fulfil our needs with domestic ingredients when its possible.” Easy to agree with that.
Manger, Health and Nutrition