Why You Should Always Mix Fresh Wild Greens With Domestic Varieties

In addition to being rich in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, leafy green vegetables make a tasty accompaniment to various entrees or even on their own. Whether those greens are tossed as a light salad, cooked into a soup, or sauteed on the stovetop, there are many fun ways to mix more greens into your diet. For example, a simple recipe of dandelion greens is an excellent and earthy amuse bouche. One thing to keep in mind when cooking with wild greens is that their flavors are much more potent and they should always be mixed together with domestic greens to cut this intensity and maintain a delicate and delicious balance. You should also take care to know the source of your wild greens to ensure they are safe to consume as some varieties are toxic.

There are so many different types of safe and healthy greens — both wild and domestic — with a number of wonderful applications in the kitchen. Examples of wild greens include lambsquarters, amaranth, sorrel, watercress, and nettle, most of which can be eaten raw, save for the nettle. You'll often find wild greens such as sorrel or watercress at your local grocery store, which makes verifying the safety and source of your greens much easier. Taking a 1:1, pound-to-pound ratio of wild and domestic greens, seasoning them with spices and aromatics, and cooking them in a broth is a simple way to prepare a dish packed with an even mix of flavor.

Making your greens taste wildly good

Some wild greens can be eaten raw as a snack or included alongside domestic greens in a fresh salad. Consider the respective flavors of both your wild and domestic greens and how both will interact. For example, some styles of kale have a unique taste that would both temper and complement a wild green like sorrel, which boasts a particularly tart flavor. This would make a great combination as a fresh salad topped with a bold vinaigrette. For more tenderized greens, sauteing or braising a bunch of wild and domestic greens together will yield a lovely melange of green flavors. This mix of greens would make an excellent addition to an Italian green soup, also known as minestra verde.

Proper preparation of both your domestic and wild greens is important to ensure optimal taste and safety of consumption. Rinsing your greens in cold water and blanching them as needed will remove dirt and toxins before you proceed with cooking. It is also advised not to overcook your greens to the point of them getting mushy. Steaming your greens in broth is a simple method for enhancing the savory flavors of your dish too. Being mindful of aromatic combinations and matching your domestic greens to dull the strong flavors of your wild greens will get the right ratio of flavors and provide a wholesome and unforgettable dish.