Wild herbs: what can they do?
It used to be considered a little quirky to go out picking herbs. However, many people have now rediscovered regional wild plants and they are experiencing a real boom as local superfoods. No wonder, because not only are they particularly tasty, but also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Did you know? By definition, wild herbs are herbaceous plants that do not lignify, are edible and have not been specially bred.
Even city kids know this one, the little white daisy that sprouts up in almost every meadow. However, many do not know that these delicate flowers are also edible. They do not have a strong aroma, but they are perfect for decoration – in salads for example.
In addition, daisies are rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin C. When it comes to vitamin C, they even beat kale, which is hyped as a superfood!
If you look carefully in ponds and water, you will discover them: the small, almost round leaves of watercress. The plant grows all year round and has a spicy-hot to slightly sour taste. It is particularly tasty on bread and butter, for example. The cress is said to have a blood-purifying, antibacterial and diuretic effect.
But be careful: Wild collection should only be made in clean waters then cleaned well (preferably blanched or cooked) before eating. It could be contaminated with bacteria.
If you want to pluck the more tender leaves from the nettle, you should start looking in spring. There are still some young shoots in autumn, but in the third season the real stars come. These are also called ‘nuts’ and are popular because of their high protein content. They are supposed to prevent tiredness and poor concentration. They also provide valuable nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C and E as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. A real superfood!
Tip: Wear gloves when collecting and avoid the stinking hair touching your skin. To try the seeds, it is best to place them on kitchen paper or a linen cloth for two to three weeks.
Ground ivy is sometimes known as creeping Charlie, catsfoot and field balm and is a tasty, aromatic herb. The somewhat bitter herb is also beneficial to health. It is rich in vitamins C, A, silica and potassium. It is also used to treat coughs and bronchitis.
Even in autumn you can still find a few tender ribwort leaves. In larger quantities, the mild-tasting plant can be easily processed into a soup. Ribwort tea helps with colds.
And a crushed leaf provides relief from insect bites. Great right? We think so too!
What is the best way to store wild herbs?
Picking is just the beginning! Now it is a matter of making these small, green treasures last. Basically, keep them in the same way you’d keep other kitchen herbs. They keep for a few days in the fridge. Freezing is also an option.
If you would like to dry the herbs, hang them upside down in bunches. Do you have a dehydrator? Then you can use it to dry these little wonder plants.
Recipe for a delicious (autumn) herb salt
Let your creativity run free and create a delicate wild herb salt for your own use or as a gift for your loved ones! To do this, dry your herbal finds. Then you can chop them up with the food processor and use coarse sea salt in a mortar to make herbal salt. The proportion of salt to herbs can vary depending on taste. Usually, the salt makes up 50 to 80% of the mixture.
Tip: You can of course use well-known culinary herbs such as lovage, oregano or thyme. Dried pieces of garlic or garlic powder are also excellent in herbal salt.