Spring season, especially for homesteader is a wonderful season!
After months of cold and dark days, plants begin to emerge and the bounty of Spring is a stark contrast to the scarcity of Winter.
While you’re planting your Spring crops in your garden, there are already a long list of plants you can forage in the Spring.
If you haven’t got one yet, check out our list below.
Top 11 Plants to Forage in the Spring
Dandelion is one of the best plants to forage in spring because they are easily identifiable and safe to harvest.
Herbalists and foragers love this plant because of its medicinal properties and edible parts (roots, leaves, and flowers).
Dandelions growing in unpolluted or unsprayed areas have healthy and edible leaves.
As long as they are clean, the leaves can be eaten fresh or stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
Dandelions are also capable of detoxifying the body too.
The flowers are delicious, but make sure not to eat the green base because it tastes bitter.
The roots can serve as an alternative for a morning cup of coffee.
During wintertime, the plant stores its vitamins and minerals into its roots, so harvesting it in the spring will give you an abundant source of vitamins and minerals for free.
Also be sure to check out my dandelion wine recipe!
2. Wild Violets
Spring season provides gardens with abundant wild violets.
While some may consider them as weeds, herbalists and foragers consider them as a good source of nutritional and medicinal benefits.
If you want to make a green salad recipe, you can sprinkle wild violet flowers and leaves into your salad to add flavor, fragrance, and color.
You can also make a violet jelly, a purple jam made of wild violets, which goes perfectly with crumpets, scones, and toast.
If you are looking for a plant to forage in spring, then chickweed should be one of them.
Not only does this plant contain healing properties, but it also has minerals and vitamins that are good for the body.
Try making a chickweed salad with olive oil dressing and lemon if you want to get its health benefits.
Also known as goosegrass, Cleavers are abundant during the spring season.
You can find them almost anywhere.
They are often added to healthy recipes as vegetables.
But keep in mind that cleavers taste bitter when they are very young, so make sure to pick the fresh-looking tops instead of the mature-looking ones.
Cleavers also add flavors to pies, soups, and stews.
You can even roast the seeds to make a great alternative for coffee.
This is another edible plant that wakes up after winter.
It has edible leaves & flowers with a pleasant nutty taste, often foraged for children, to make the leaves as bread and flowers as cheese.
The spring season is the perfect time to forage this plant while they are still young and fresh.
If foraged a little longer, the leaves may no longer be edible.
You may also eat the leaves fresh right after picking.
Some even sprinkle them into their salads or add to their sandwich dressings.
Hawthorn can easily be found in scrubland, hedges, heaths and downs, and woods.
They are best harvested around March and April.
6. Japanese Knotweed
Categorized as an invasive plant that could cause environmental problems, the Japanese knotweed plant is actually quite good.
Little did people know that it contains high levels of vitamins and minerals that are good for the body.
Japanese Knotweed is known to contain properties that help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
It’s a good source for anyone who wants to reduce their risk of heart attacks.
Nettles are plants that are packed with vitamins and minerals.
It is a good source of iron, Vitamins D and A.
They are often made into a creamy soup, beer, and tea to enjoy its rich flavor and health benefits.
Nettles are not hard to find because they grow everywhere.
But when foraging nettles, it is best to avoid pesticide-ridden areas and roadside.
They are best harvested around late February to early June.
Check out this article on the medicinal benefits of nettles from WebMd.
Check out my post on the difference between henbit and purple deadnettle!
8. Wild Garlic
Besides warding off evil spirits and vampires, wild garlic is also a good source of ingredient to add flavor to your sauce, soups, and omelets.
This plant is known for its enticing aroma and delightful taste.
Both leaves and flowers can be sprinkled into salads or added with butter to make a delicious garlic bread recipe.
Plantain is a wild edible plant that grows abundantly in early spring.
It is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium.
It has healing properties, thus chewed or mashed during emergencies.
It is also used to treat scrapes, cuts, and insect bites.
Plantain is also a favorite among herbalists.
They make plantain tea to aid in digestion and treat coughs and colds.
The best time to harvest this plant is around April and May.
10. Raspberry Leaves
Raspberry leaves are a popular source of natural medicine.
They have healing properties that help strengthen the uterine wall, ease menstrual discomfort, treat sore throats, relieve stress, heal oral sores, and treat burns.
Harvesting raspberry leaves is not difficult.
However, one has to be a little patient when harvesting its leaves for tea.
But if you want to use the plant for herbal purposes, you must do it in the mid-morning, before the plant blooms, when the leaves are filled with flavor and essential oils.
11. Morel Mushrooms
Foraging morel mushrooms during the spring can be exciting.
They are one of the best and tastiest plants to forage, especially if sauteed or deep-fried.
They may be difficult to find at first, but once you get familiar with their appearance and characteristics, foraging for morel mushrooms becomes easy and worth it!
Foraging plants in the Spring is a fun and exciting thing to do.
There’s a lot to learn and discover.
The best part is that you can do it anywhere!
Make sure to add more edible and medicinal weeds to your list.