Wood sorrel is a plant that most people know. It contains a considerable amount of oxalic acid. It is recommended that young children watch the quantities consumed. Given their low body weight, high levels of oxalic acid can be quite dangerous to their health. Wood sorrel can be successfully incorporated in mixed and fruit salads, cold soups, green butter, and even cold sauces from the collected leaves. The leaves and flowers are also used to decorate dishes, from simple sandwiches to gorgeous chocolate cakes. When heated, the rabbit cabbage loses its characteristic appearance and the vitamins, but the harmful effects of oxalic acid are also reduced.
Common sorrel is a fresh and crunchy springtime staple, full of vitamin C that quickly relieves stress and promotes digestion. Tanning and bitter substances give the plant a sour, slightly bitter taste. A commonly found plant in Estonia, it grows on meadows, but also on coastal and floodplain meadows, roadside, bushes, ditches, rivers, and lakeshores. Chopped leaves are commonly used in soups and salads, both as raw or cooked.
Fresh wild garlic can be found already at the end of April. Thanks to its intense flavour, wild garlic banished harmful microbes from the body and aids with digestion. Did you know that springtime wild garlic contains 15–20 times more vitamin C than lemons? Wild garlic is great in salads, soups, herbal butter and pesto. However, keep in mind that wild garlic is under protection and should, therefore, be acquired for either personal use only, or from the market, shops, or friends who grow it in their garden.
Nettles are the first sources of energy offered to us by the spring. According to Estonian folk medicine, all parts of nettle can be used; however, these days it is mainly leaves that are used to make nettle tea, soup, or salad. Nettles help combat fatigue, invigorate, provide a lot of vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, etc., reduce inflammation, and improve blood composition. In the olden times, Estonians believed that the nettle is a witch's herb, which is why it was often used in spells and rituals. The plant was thrown into the fire to protect houses from lightning and added to washing water to remove curses. It was believed that nettles protect from revenants, ghosts, and evil spirits.