by Jennifer Stevenson
My garden is a mess, but it’s easy to take care of, and some of it is edible, especially in Spring. Here are my top ten favorite edible Spring plants:
10 Marjoram. A version of oregano. Flops all over unless I put it in a tomato cage. Blooms purple! Tastes good in marinara sauce, which I make once a year maybe.
9 Scallions. Twenty years ago I let some scallions go bad in my fridge and, out of guilt, I planted them outside. Their descendents now provide masses of onion greens. Plus, they make crazy curly goofy onion sets and flowers, which look like something out of Dr. Seuss.
8 Watercress. I bought some in the store that came with roots. Ate the greens, put the roots in the ground, and dang, it’s growing! Makes a pretty yellow flower.
7 Poor man’s pepper. I don’t cook with this—it’s just a funny little weed with leaves and seeds that taste like a cross between watercress and black pepper.
6 Lemon balm. I don’t think a person should eat this, but it makes a nice tea, if you like lemon tea, and it grows very bushy alongside my sidewalk, so that when the mail carrier walks up the front walk her legs brush against it and she smells lemon.
5 Nasturtiums. The leaves taste peppery. I haven’t got the heart to eat the flowers, which are supposed to be good, too.
4 Native peppermint. Has a sharp, powerful flavor that’s good for peppermint tea.
3 Catnip. The real thing—not the stuff they sell in stores, but scavenged from a rural Illinois roadside. I think it smells like pee, but my cats go nuts for it. Supposedly makes a soothing tea for humans, but ew!
2 Garlic greens. Zippier than chives. Put ‘em in the blender with a glob of Greek yogurt or sour cream and mix into scrambled eggs for the greenest green eggs ever.
1 Chocolate peppermint! This makes an awesome mint julep—bourbon, sugar, mint, ice, blender, voila! I don’t care if it’s taking over the lawn.