Currants, plums and forsythias are beginning to bloom, crocuses sprouted several weeks ago, and the gardeners among us are wearing dirt under their fingernails and big smiles. Spring is definitely coming, if not already here, and it’s time to think about spring cleaning, both inside and out. Stay with me for a minute and I’ll show how that’s related to this week’s menu.
A quick trip to the Community Food Co-operative showed pretty much the same local foods available as last week: mushrooms, baby spinach, salad greens, some dairy products and cheese, eggs, etc. I quickly settled on a Spinach and Beef Frittata as the main dish for this week’s menu, but was stumped for a complementary side dish. Then I read an article on the blog of a friend of mine, Randy Smith, about foraging for stinging nettles and voila! I knew my problem was solved. Here’s the menu for this week:
- Spinach and Beef Frittata
- Sautéed Mushrooms and Nettles
- Rosemary Dinner Rolls (by Avenue Bread)
- Legoe Bay Winery Chardonnay
How does this relate to spring cleansing? Nettles have been used for many years as a gentle, natural diuretic, which helps to flush toxins from the body. It’s also has anti-inflammatory actions that can help relieve pain from arthritis and rheumatism. Herbalists consider nettles a blood cleanser, helping to reduce blood pressure and lower the heart rate. It can promote prostate health as well. Science has supported the effects of these traditional uses of nettles. For these and other reasons, nettles are frequently included in commercial herbal cleanse formulas. Nettles should be harvested before they begin flowering, so spring is the best time to gather them.
See the recipes linked above for more details about sources of ingredients and how to pick and prepare nettles.