Folk names: Common sorrel, garden sorrel, spinach dock, narrow-leaved dock
Dutch: zuring /zurkel - French: Oseille - German: Wiesen-Sauerampfer Großer Sauerampfer
For a little lemon twist, you'll need sorrel. Excellent thirst quencher with a fresh flavour. It loves to grow in moist soil and can often be found near water streams.
Very first wild green I ate as a young child. Fell in love instantly. The leaves have grown rather tall by now, so I take a few leaves, roll them up together and chop them that way.
Folk names: European raspberry, red raspberry
Dutch: Framboos - French: Framboisier - German: Himbeere
This will be one of the last times to harvest leaves from raspberry, blackberry or strawberry plants, as the plants are coming into flower and the leaves are becoming increasingly tough. Last chance to enjoy their green sweetness, next time you'll harvest it'll be the glorious berries.
Raspberry leaves are very high in vitamin C and magnesium. Every year, I pick quite a huge amount of red raspberry leaves that I dry to use for my herbal infusions. Not only delicious, but also an excellent uterine tonic. Drinking it brings back sweet twin pregnancy memories :)
Folk names: Lawn daisy, English daisy
Dutch: Madeliefje - French: Pâquerette - German: Gänseblümchen
Don't just eat the flowers, but try the leaves as well. They are rich in vitamin C and A, and a good source of iron.
Common daisy leaves have a rather neutral taste, more like store bought lettuce. Which makes them extremely versatile, but above all a good salad green.
Folk names: Scurvy grass, Scurvygrass, Spoonwort
Dutch: Echt lepelblad - French: Cochléaire officinale - German: Echte Löffelkraut
It has leaves that look like a spoon and has historically been used to prevent scurvy, because of the high vitamin C content.
Scurvy-grass has a rather sharp taste, much like water cress or horseradish (of which you can eat the leaves as well), so I only add it in small amounts. But for a salad with a little kick, toss it in and enjoy. The vitamin C will also help your body to absorb the iron that it provides. Nature's so smart.
Folk names: Minutina, Erba stella
Dutch: Hertshoornweegbree - French: Plantain corne de cerf, Pied de corbeau, Plantain corne de bœuf - German: Krähenfuß-Wegerich, Hirschhorn-Wegerich, Schlitz-Wegerich, Schlitzblatt-Wegerich, Kapuzinerbart, Mönchsbart, Ziegenbart
Of all plantain species, this green has the most crispy texture, even when the plant matures. In Italy this variety is often found in vegetable gardens and markets. It's very likely that some other plantain species grow in your garden, so feel free to use them as long as the leaves are still young and tender.
Buck's horn plantain loves to grow in sandy dunes, but a pavement will work as well. Or my garden :)
Folk names: Salad burnet, Garden burnet, Small burnet, Burnet
Dutch: Kleine pimpernel - French: (Petite) pimprenelle - German: Kleine Wiesenknopf
Think nuts, with the freshness of cucumber. Okay, that may stretch the limits of your imagination a little. But that's exactly what salad burnet has to offer.
Growing in the wild, but it deserves a place in every herb garden as well. You can even keep harvesting in winter, but young leaves have the best flavour. At this stage, before flowering, the plant is still very tender and you can eat the whole leaves. When using older leaves, discard the tough stems. Always pick the outer leaves to encourage new growth.
Folk names: Flatweed, False dandelion
Dutch: Gewoon biggenkruid - French: Hypochaeris radicata - German: Gewöhnliche Ferkelkraut
This dandelion lookalike is edible as well. You can use the leaves and flowers. Dandelion's peak moment for flowering is already over, but cat's ear's moment of glory is yet to come, so I harvested the hairy leaves. Slightly bitter, but not as much as dandelion.
For an excellent overview of dandelion and cat's ear and how you can identify the two and tell them apart, click here. But the two are interchangeable in salads.
Maybe you only recognize a few of these plants, or only one or two of the mentioned species are growing in your yard. Here's the good news: salads are not exact science. Don't make that stop you from trying the ones you know. But tell me, which ones of these are growing in your garden?