San Sai (Wild Mountain Vegetables) 山菜
Today, I had a delightful adventure gathering wild edibles that brought back memories of the San Sai 山菜 (mountain vegetables) we savored in Japan.Here in Wisconsin, where we experience similar temperatures and conditions as mountains in warmer regions, we refer to these wild vegetables as a spring tonic.
Although it’s a different culture, the idea of consuming free "organic weeds” brimming with nutrients and probiotics remains the same.
Also, in talking to Greek women, we found they have century-old traditions of using the same wild spring “mountain vegetables.” We were told this practice originated from fleeing to the mountains during invasions and having nothing to eat.
Similarly, for Native Americans and early settlers, these early spring greens were life savers. After the long cold winter, most of their food storage had been consumed, and they were in danger of starvation and vitamin deficiencies.
On the other end of the scale, these free-to-gather wild vegetables are served at high-end restaurants as fancy expensive delicacies.
We enjoy San Sai in various ways, including stir-fries, teas, and soups. Today as I work around my property with my gathering bag, I simultaneously collect "weeds" for our supper.
When replicating San Sai dishes from Japan, we focus on using fresh and locally available ingredients instead of trying to duplicate the dish. This is because some ingredients may be exactly the same, while others may differ.
Bloom where your weeds are planted