Spring cleaning

The sap is rising at last, and the Easter feasting is over. Now is the time to do a bit of spring cleaning, or detox, or simply to freshen up your diet. And it’s no accident that so many of the traditional cleansing herbs – nettles, goosegrass, purslane, dandelions and wild garlic, to name a few – are springing up everywhere in hedgerows and woodlands, and probably in your garden too, whether you want them or not.

Make use of these uninvited guests. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, so as well as waking up your liver and digestive system, they provide valuable nourishment; and in the days before imported vegetables, that could mean the difference between life and death. You don’t have to think of them as medicine. Put some into soups and stews, add them to smoothies, or combine them with some of the more aromatic herbs like limeflowers or chamomile for a pleasant-tasting tea. Use them in just the same way as you might use parsley, thyme or coriander. And be generous with them, just as they are generous with their gifts to us.

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