Collect wild herbs properly in spring
Does the monotony of iceberg lettuce and tasteless cucumbers hang out around your neck? Do you watch with annoyance how your neighbors in the garden make everything in the bio bin disappear that an entire family can feed on? We show you which herbs and medicinal plants are in season in spring, what you should pay attention to when collecting and what variety of uses there are for edible wild plants.
Superfood? Out in the garden
How about going to your own garden instead of going to the supermarket and eating vitamin champions on the doorstep instead of expensive "superfood" from China? Invite your guests to dine in their own garden: Salad with dandelion, nettle and chickweed, with wild garlic soup, as a main course Giersch with Gundermann and dandelion root puree and as a dessert jelly made from daisies, woodruff and elderflower.
In spring, the plants wake up from their frost prison and push to the surface. Many of these herbs taste good - and this has been forgotten between greenhouses and oranges from California. Wild herbs are ideal for a healthy diet: on average they have a multiple of vitamins, minerals and vital substances such as cultivated plants from the greenhouse.
Edible herbs and medicinal plants in spring - an overview
In March, April, May we can collect:
- Gundermann: The leaves taste like a spice
- Young nettles: A vitamin kick for soups, sauces, salads and tea
- Young leaves of the yarrow
- Leaves and flowers of the daisy
- dandelion: Leaves and buds
- sorrel: Leaves
- Wild garlic: Leaves
(Warning: Only collect wild garlic if you are 100% sure. He looks deceptively like the poisonous lily of the valley and the autumn timeless. Confusion can cost life.)
- Garlic tendril
- Shepherd's purse herb
We can cook all these herbs in a vegetable soup, add them raw in the salad, in quark or yoghurt.
For a tea made from dried plants:
- Boy Raspberry leaves
- Blackberry leaves
- Coltsfoot flowers- and leaves
- Poplars: Leaf buttons
- Boy Birch leaves
- Leaves of Ribwort plantain
- Peppermint leaves
- Leaves and flowers of the Hawthorn
Everything is sprouting - collect quickly
In early April, the plants sprout everywhere. Many think they can start collecting slowly. For some plants it is even too early, for others the season is just beginning. But beware: You have to harvest some delicacies of healthy cuisine quickly.
Lesser celandine develops alkaloids with the flower - then you can no longer collect it. Coltsfoot blooms at low temperatures and fades when it gets warm. You can still harvest the healing leaves, but you can no longer harvest the flowers.
The meadow button also has its best time in April. The small meadow button, the pimpinelle, is suitable for seasoning salads, sauces and soups. It is inseparable from the Frankfurt Green Sauce.
The chickweed knows pet lovers as a vitamin kick for finches. No wonder the birds love it: It contains rough amounts of vitamin C and expectorant substances. Outdoor geeks who suffer from iron deficiency can help themselves with chickweed. In addition to iron, it offers potassium.
It tastes sweet, like a mixture of raw corn and peas - that's why it is suitable as an addition to desserts and desserts. In addition to the mucilage, it contains
- essential oils,
- Flavonoids and
A high percentage of zinc is probably the reason that our ancestors saw them as a sexual enhancer for men. Add to that
- Silica and
Wild garlic - the witch bulb
The main active ingredients
Flavonoids / polyphenols have an antioxidant effect and protect the cells. They prevent cardiovascular diseases, slow inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.
Bitter substances promote the secretion of gastric and biliary juices, ensure good digestion, help digest fat and relieve the psyche. Mucous substances care for the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract and digestive tract. They slow down toxins, inhibit inflammation and lower cholesterol like blood sugar.
Garlic spinach - delicious food as medicine
Bear's garlic (Allium ursinum) is popularly called garlic spinach, and that's right: it is as much a spice as a vegetable. This vital grenade of spring will delight us with its leaves from mid-March. The leek blooms in April, and as a result, many flavors migrate into the flowers.
Allium ursinum is ideal for overcoming spring tiredness and giving the body energy after the cold winter.
Bear's garlic contains many valuable ingredients such as
- Leek oils,
- Vitamin C,
- Magnesium and
As if that weren't enough, it also tastes great: like mild garlic, but at the same time with a spicy hue. The leek oils act against bacteria and fungi.
The active ingredients in wild garlic clean the blood, drive urine, loosen mucus, and its oils counteract arteriosclerosis. The spring herb gives us the opportunity to eat deliciously and at the same time prevent heart attacks and strokes. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
It also helps indirectly to smooth the skin in spring. Wild garlic promotes detoxification and deacidification as well as digestion and thus helps the body to tighten the skin.
The herbaceous plant unfolds its greatest healing power in late April to early May.
Bärlauch - Locations
We can easily plant the wild garlic ourselves. The easiest way is to get plants from the garden center and use them. Allium ursinum is not too sunny, but likes rich humus and moist soil. In nature it is a forest plant and loves swampy riparian forests. The bottom of the Leipzig floodplain forest, formerly the floodplain of Pleisse, Weisse, Elster and Luppe, is white in April before wild garlic flowers that soak the air with their spicy scent.
Caution: risk of confusion
Wild garlic is easy to confuse - with the poisonous plants Herbstzeitlose, Arumstab, lily of the valley and Solomon seals. So if you don't want to bring the devil into your kitchen, only pick wild garlic if you are absolutely sure that it is.
It is best to plant the "witch bulb" in your own garden. Or you can go gathering with experts. This is trendy anyway, because the spice herb is under nature protection: you can only pluck it for your own and daily needs outdoors.
The most important distinction to the externally similar, but internally poisonous: wild garlic has a keel in the underside of the leaf, which runs clearly through the entire leaf. Lily of the valley and Solomon seals do not have this mark. Always pick the herb outdoors with a stem. This is the only way to prevent a leaf of lily of the valley from accidentally getting lost in your salad.
When is the best time to collect wild garlic?
Wild garlic blooms in April and May. Now the nutrients are in flowers, stems and bulbs. However, we do not take this from the wild in order to preserve the stock of this plant, which is no longer common.
However, we harvest the young leaves in March and early April. We can use them fresh, freeze them, put them in oil or otherwise preserve them, so we have a stock all year round. They taste best fresh.
Wild garlic in the kitchen
Everything about the plant can be eaten. We use the onions in the kitchen like garlic onions. The fruits can be steamed, the flower stems serve as a condiment. The spring herb is an all-rounder. Less dominant than garlic, it adapts to different flavors and still gives dishes a unique touch. Wild garlic pesto with olive oil is more than just an insider tip for pasta sauces. Wild garlic in a herbal dressing also makes an inconspicuous corn salad an experience.
Better than its relative, the intrusive garlic, it can also be used as a vegetable of its own - hence the name garlic spinach. We cook the whole garlic leaves and eat them like spinach. This goes particularly well with potatoes, pasta, dumplings and other starchy side dishes with little flavor, which balance the strong aroma of the leek. As with all herbs: the healing substances are best kept raw.
Garlic with less smell
Bear's garlic has a big advantage over garlic. The chlorophyll of the green leek prevents us from evaporating the sulfur substances out of the pores like with garlic. With the “witch bulb” we only smell from the mouth, and even less than with his cousin.
Imagine parsley and carrots growing lushly in your garden without them having to do anything. Would you now curse this "weed", tear it out, throw it in the organic waste and swear over this "plague" every year - even though you know that you can also process it into vegetables? This is how gardeners deal with a close relative of carrot and parsley who tastes similar. More specifically, Giersch tastes like a mixture of carrots, parsley, spinach and celery.
Vegetable gardeners should love Giersch and not hate it. It can always be harvested and is always fresh. It surpasses almost all salads and vegetables with rough amounts of vitamins and minerals. It can be used as green manure and as the basis for compost. It can be used universally in the kitchen.
The delicious wild vegetables are as much umbelliferous as parsley, delicious in soups, salads and sauces and rich in valuable substances. This "weed" contains four times as much vitamin C as lemon, plus iron, copper and manganese. It detoxifies, cleanses the blood and drives the flow of urine.
The ground cover grows almost everywhere. In gardens, it quickly overgrows the entire area, preferring penumbra and shade. Harvesting it is very easy. To do this, pluck off the young leaves.
You can chop the leaves raw in lettuce, curd cheese or dips or cook like spinach. In a vegetable soup, use it similarly to parsley.
Difference between Giersch and Schierling
Socrates died after drinking a hemlock. To ensure that this does not happen to you when you sip a yeast soup, as you thought, pay attention to the following: Giersch differs from the poisonous hemlock by the triangular petiole in cross-section and by its smell, which is reminiscent of parsley.
Ribwort and white plantain
Plantain, dandelion and clover are three types of unsprayed edges. They grow on uncut lawns as well as on fallow land or on the embankment. Few people know the blessing of the plantain, although it is omnipresent.
Plantain acts against bacteria, helps with inflammation of the stomach, gastrointestinal inflammation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. It can be used for insect bites, as well as for inflammation of the respiratory tract and pharynx. Plantain can be eaten raw like salad or blanched like spinach.
Some buy nettle tea in health food stores or pharmacies. You can harvest this supposed weed anywhere that the soil is not too acidic. Use gloves to prevent the hair from boring into your skin. When cooking, the hair loses its sharpness. To eat nettles raw, roll them in rolling pin over the leaves or rub them off with a brush. You can also destroy the stinging hairs if you wash the leaves with cold water.
The plant contains an enormous amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. It detoxifies better than most other medicinal herbs, drives urine and metabolism.
Nettle leaves taste great in soups and salads, quarks and cheese, in yoghurt or casseroles and also as a vegetable side dish.
The good grows right in front of your nose. A disregarded treat is the dandelion, which is inseparably part of the kitchen in Turkey, for example.
The bitter substances in the plant stimulate digestion and metabolism, dandelion also contains
- Vitamin C,
- Provitamin A,
- Folic acid,
- Saponins and
The young leaves in spring not only taste good, they also contain the most vitamin C.
We can eat anything from the dandelion, the roots, leaves and flowers. Dandelion leaves fit well in a salad, preferably young in spring. The bitter taste disappears when we put the leaves in salt water or let them soak in a salad sauce with creme fraiche. It also steams when we mix carrots, kohlrabi, field or iceberg lettuce in the salad. Tomatoes also harmonize with dandelions. When raw, the finely chopped leaves fit well in herb curd or herb butter.
The leaves can not only be eaten raw, they can also be cooked - like spinach. Quiches, casseroles, soups or sauces, everything is possible. We can cook the root into mus and stir it into a stew, but also bake it.
The flowers are an insider tip for cocktails with or without alcohol. We can also boil them with water and sugar to make a syrup or soak the closed flowers in vinegar.
Dandelion as a medicinal plant
Folk medicine used dandelions against gastrointestinal problems, against indigestion and for liver and bile. The medicinal herb drives the urine and therefore prevents kidney stones. In the past, the root was therefore called "Pisswurzel" or "Bettpisser".
A warning: You should not eat dandelions if you are taking blood thinning medication.
Daisies are not only beautiful for children who give mum a bouquet of flowers, they provide us with important active ingredients in spring. Daisy forms blood, floats water and loosens mucus. The white petals decorate salads, desserts or soups.
The leaves as well as the closed flower buds and opened flowers can be used. The flowers taste sweet and nutty, the leaves a little like sorrel. You can harvest almost all year round, from March to late autumn. The flowers taste best in late spring.
As a daisy, the meadow daisy is related to other edible and medicinal plants, with dandelions, yarrow and chamomile - and your tongue will notice that.
The plant has tannins and thus stimulates the appetite as well as the digestive juices of the stomach, liver and bile. It cleanses the blood and inhibits inflammation. The contained flavonoids are antibacterial, antioxidative and anti-fungal. You stop bleeding.
Eat healthy and well
So you can eat healthy and good with common plants that you pick directly from your own garden and that you probably only knew until now as rabbit food. In this case, hand to mouth is a certificate of quality. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Dr. Eleonore Hohenberger: aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, fruit and horticultural publisher of the Bavarian State Association for Horticulture and State Care, 7th edition, 2017
- Ben-Erik van Wy, Coralie Wink, Michael Wink: Handbook of Medicinal Plants, Scientific Publishing Company, 3rd edition 2015
- Renate Hudak: Growing herbs yourself, Gräfe und Unzer Verlag GmbH, 5th edition, 2016