Wild Food: Seven Herbs To Celebrate The Return Of Green

nanakusa japan photo

(Photo from Shizenjuku)

Sirerdrick made a good point in the comment to Bonnie's post about Food Foraging, noting that in Japan, you can find a lot of wild foods, including bamboo shoots, fern saplings, and ginkgo nuts. Actually, today, January 7 is a traditional day to celebrate the first herbs that grow this time of year. This afternoon I noticed that my supermarket sold the herbs, so I didn't have to do much foraging, but I like the way they make stuff available:

nanakusa seven herbs japan photo

(Seven herbs from wikipedia)

* Water dropwort (seri, Oenanthe javanica)
* Shepherd's purse (nazuna)
* Cudweed (gogyō, Gnaphalium affine)
* Chickweed (hakobera, Stellaria media)
* Nipplewort (hotokenoza, Lapsana apogonoides)
* Turnip (suzuna)
* Daikon (suzushiro)

Since there is little food to harvest in early January, these fresh green herbs bring colour to the table and eating them suits the spirit of the New Year. At temples and shrines around Japan, this is a day to celebrate the return of green, as farmers start harvesting the tiny leaves and roots.

And if you ate too much during the holiday, you will appreciate the light, simple fare, usually eaten with a rice porridge.

Of course it is also a reminder of how grateful we really should be for the abundance of food - something we tend to take for granted, as low oil prices have made industrial, large-scale (polluting) factory-style farming the norm. For how long? Nobody knows. And most of us are not very well prepared to grow our own, GMO free food. How about you?

nanakusa japan supermarket image

(Image from Our Adventures In Japan)

Food blogger Kat has the recipe:

You wash all the grasses and parboil until the leaves wilt. Then chop up and add to your porridge. The porridge has the consistency of oatmeal, but you could make your porridge more liquidy if you like. It tastes like you added spinach to your un-sweetened oatmeal.

More food foraging:

Food Foraging Lessons for the Recession
Food Foraging for the Faint-hearted
Food Foraging: Gourmet Food Hunting
A Year in the Woods Eating Wild Food

Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp

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