Laura Dean Bennett
The dandelions are starting to appear in the yard, the watercress is bright green in the streams and the ramps are beginning to appear in the leaf litter at the edge of the woods.
As green plants and flowers begin shooting up from the ground and blossoms burst open in the trees, it’s obvious that life is returning after a winter of hibernation.
And it’s not just nature that’s experiencing a spring revival – we are, too.
We are probably starting to eat less than we did in the winter – thank goodness – and are craving fresh food, just as our ancestors did hundreds of years ago.
This spring craving for fresh, green food comes naturally, and just as naturally, whether we know it or not, we crave more vitamin C in our diets.
There are probably thousands of tonic recipes rich in vitamin C, but here’s one that also calls for ramps, watercress and dandelion greens – all of which are high in vitamin C.
All three of these delicious greens can be found growing wild right here in Pocahontas County. The lemon you’ll need to get at the grocery.
Greens and Lemon Spring Tonic
Feel free to use any greens that you have available, but if you can find ramps, those are preferable. You can also substitute leeks or scallions.
4 or 5 young, tender ramps or 1 medium bulb spring onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups water
2 cups chopped dandelion greens
2 cups chopped watercress
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
Lemon slices as garnish, optional
Add ramps, garlic and water to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
Remove lid and add dandelion and watercress, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more or until bright green and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then grind in an blender. Or, if you prefer, you can skip the blender and just strain out the pulp, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Pour into small cups and garnish with a lemon slice, drink immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.