Pure Spring Greens

So I have a balcony garden, and I haven’t given it as much time as a proper gardener might, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you like to eat spring weeds… since what I would be weeding are the edible greens! Who needs to grow veg when it pops right up?

Also, spring shoots on trees can be edible. Here in Japan, the shoots of many plants can be eaten after parboiling. In the spring, when vegetables are scarce and expensive, it is a good time to prune your edible fruit trees and get your greens in that way!

Today I picked chickweed (too late and bitter raw because it now has flowers), dandelion and it’s cousin, and I trimmed some spring shoots off my adorable little mulberries so that they will bush out.

I washed the greens, and ate the dandelion right away because it was so tender and irresistible.

The other ones I gently placed in boiling water, and cooked for about three seconds. Then I took them out and put them in a bowl of cold water. Finally they got swished around a few times in the water to get rid of any left over dirt or seeds, the big leaves we’re removed, the chickweed was wrung and cut into 3- inch-size pieces, and here is the picture!

As for flavor, I’ll make a sweet miso-ae, which is miso with a little sugar (in my case, honey) and a dash of vinegar. But I want to try them all raw.


The mulberry leaves were exquisite. They had a gentle flavor, a bit like spinach but less intense. I ate them up. The chickweed… Tastes good, but it is fibrous. I need to pick it younger.


Here is the recipe I used for miso-ae, a sauce to put on freshly steamed veggies.

Mix 2Tbsp miso, 1Tbsp honey or sugar, and 1/2tsp vinegar. This is a protein-packed sauce that people add to cooked veggies in Japan. It makes a nice dip and can be used as a salad dressing, especially if thinned a bit.