Believe it or not, the old proverb says that eating bitterness in spring is effective for detoxification in order to remove the waste of body accumulated during the winter. Indeed wild vegetables’ bitterness contains abundant nutrients such as polyphenol and vitamins which have antioxidant properties and prevent from sickness. On the other opinion, some people consider that this bitterness makes them feel the arrival of spring.
If you are living in big city, you might not see these spring vegetables unless they are famous ones such as Bamboo shoot and Fukinoto, but recently some wild vegetables could be purchased at the supermarket. Here are some of them;
Some of the edible wild vegetables;
Takenoko – well known and easy to use for a variety of dishes, but removal of scum is necessary before a use
Taranome –contains harshness, but smaller one usually has less bitterness
Kogomi – less bitterness, hence can be eaten as Ohitashi and Deep fly (Tempura)
Udo – contains bitterness and strong aroma. Boiled one can be briskly and crunchy texture Tukushi – must remove the harshness
Warabi – must remove the harshness
Koshiabura – it is called as Queen of Wild vegetable, and unique aroma. Suitable for Tempura
Basic way of cooking
Some of them such as Warabi and Fukinoto have actually toxic consequences, hence boiling is necessary before eating. After boiling with a tiny bit of salt and remove the harshness, these pre-cooked wild vegetables are eaten simply as Ohitashi (with Soy Sauce) or Gomaae (with sesami seasoning), but also used for the topping on Soba (buckwheat noodles) or Wild Vegetable Cooked Rice.
Deep fly (Tempura) would be the best way of cooking for a variety of wild vegetable, especially for the one with strong bitterness.
Pickles – Wild vegetables are usually gone off quickly, therefore it is recommended to eat the day when you freshly pick up, or if not possible, you can preserve it in salt or rice bran to make as lightly pickled radishes.
Enjoy picking up wild vegetables in the mountain
If you go and pick up the wild vegetables by yourself, there are things that you need to be cautious about.
First of all, some of the wild vegetables is inedible and could have toxicity. So do not think everything can be edible. Make sure if it is edible before you eat. Secondly, do not pick all of them up. For example, Taranome can become extinct if you pick them all up from the trees. At last, don’t forget to take a bell to keep bears away and a mobile to contact with people in case of emergency.
There are more wild vegetables which I don’t explain in this article. If you find it interesting, try to look for a wild vegetable book available in the book shop. Maybe it could give you an opportunity to enjoy hiking with a different purpose next time when you go to the mountain.