The farmer’s market was overwhelmed by spring this weekend. Mounds of artichokes, radishes, sunflower sprouts, flowers, and the first crop of early strawberries! You can get so many items around the time the seasons change, and it’s really fun to witness the progression of the harvests. Seeing as our backyard is bursting with green and morning dew, and all the plants are expanding with growth – it’s the perfect time to nourish ourselves with spring foods. Chinese medicine associates the liver organ with spring, so we want to incorporate foods that help the liver function and naturally cleanse the body so that we may start anew. Dandelion greens (and beet greens) are classic foods for liver function, and are also slightly bitter in nature which is a sign of cleansing plants.
Dandelion greens: benefit liver function, gently detox the liver and gall bladder, promote healthy bile flow, reduce inflammation, help with digestion and elimination, and clear heat and toxins from the body. Most slightly bitter greens will act accordingly.
Radish: Relieves indigestion and helps break up phlegm & mucus accumulations, helps clear sinuses and prevent infections, cleanses toxins from the body, purifies & cools the body, and can also remedy stones in the Gall Bladder or Bladder if taken daily. All types of radish fall into this category, especially the Chinese daikon variety.
Ultimate Spring Salad:
1 handful dandelion greens, washed and dried and chopped
1-2 handfuls baby arugula
1 small handful broccoli sprouts, or sunflower sprouts
several red radishes, sliced or smaller ones left whole
several ripe organic strawberries, sliced
raw sunflower seeds
balsamic, lemon, or citrus vinaigrette
Place greens and sprouts in a salad bowl, and garnish around with radishes and berries. Sprinkle generously with sunflower seeds. Toss with vinaigrette and devour.
*You want to mix dandelion greens just as you would any salad greens, they have a texture very similar to lettuce but are rather bitter. Mixing them with something slightly sweet (strawberries in this case, and a nice citrusy-sweet dressing) gives a wonderful flavor! You can also quickly sauté dandelions with some garlic, oil, and sea salt for an easy hot side dish - just as you would kale or collards greens.