Spring has sprung and Wednesday weather brought me outside to search for spring greens. My raised garden disappeared with the new addition; however, a few things on the side of the house survived the big machinery. My chives are up and the thyme made it through the winter nicely and the violets are blooming everywhere. My rosemary has grown twice the size after wintering in the house, and I put it outdoors to wash off the dust and to air it out. Down in back of the yard I have a row of forsythia which is in full bloom and behind that is my Jerusalem artichoke and angelica.
My first encounter with angelica was many years ago while driving to visit my mother. There on the side of the road in a ditch, it grew tall, with huge leaves and white flowers that were so big around they looked like large, round, white umbrellas. On my way home I dug one up and have had angelica in my yards ever since.Angelica is in the parsley family and has been known since ancient times. It has at one time or another been credited with the ability to cure almost anything, including the plague, and it was used along with exorcism. Fortunately, since I have grown angelica, I have not needed to use it for either of those plights.
My interest in angelica is in candying the stems for use in cakes and dessert. I have also seen a receipt somewhere, where it was used with rhubarb, another spring favorite. However, my rhubarb went the way of the shovel, so I’m very glad to have my angelica. With the sun getting stronger every day, I’m sure I will be picking the young shoots and candying them soon. I’ll post the receipt and pictures when I do.
Our 18th century housewives so waited for this time of year, with so many wonderful greens sprouting up. Go out and take a look and see what you might find in your garden or roadside. Soon we will see the fiddlehead ferns, too.