Spring has arrived and, as an unofficial sign that winter is finally over, chives and dandelion greens have begun popping up all across upstate New York. Soon other wild edibles like Burdock Root, Black Caps, Callaloo, Horseradish, Lambsquarters, and Purslane will also spring up in unlikely places – in the medians of the roadways, to the lawns and gardens in every urban and suburban area from New York City to Albany. Late spring – April to May – is the perfect time to pick ramps and stinging nettles along the banks of upstate creeks and rivers. Morel mushrooms can also be foraged in early May when the weather is humid and rainy.
After their spring debut, wild chives are abundant and can be eaten for months. Their flowers make a striking salad garnish, in moderation however, their flavor can be quite potent, lingering on your breath for hours after you have eaten them.
Dandelion greens have a very short “edible” window after their small tender clusters of greens emerge in the early spring. Try to harvest the greens before they flower, after which they become hopelessly bitter. If the greens are young and small enough, you can eat them by themselves in a salad or in a mix of other salad greens. Larger Dandelion greens can be sautéed or pan steamed like spinach or chard. Blanching the greens in boiling water before you cook them will take some of their bitter edge off.
This recipe can be made from spring-foraged chives and dandelion greens. The soup is vegetarian with a deep flavor and a mild pleasantly bitter finish. If you pick the Dandelions when they are very small and tender, you won’t have to bother with the extra step of blanching them before making the soup.