Food straight from springtime nature

Source: Anneli Tandorf

Food straight from springtime nature

Estonians have been using plants for food as long as we can remember. Spring brings an abundance of vitamin-rich green shoots, which are especially good for those of us who haven't had much chance to bask in the sunlight during the long winter. If you think these shoots aren't edible, make sure you read this article and re-evaluate what you can snack on!


Fresh and scrumptious

Photo by: Danel Rinaldo, Visit Estonia


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 butters and pesto! However, keep in mind that wild garlic is under nature conservation and should, therefore, be acquired 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 a 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 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.

There's plenty to eat in the nature!

Photo by: Mart Vares, Visit Estonia


Bishop's weed can be a real annoyance to gardeners, but it is actually great on the table as well. Bishop's weed can be incorporated in soups, pesto and salads. During times of famine, Estonians used to turn to bishop's weed as it could be added to foods to make the more voluminous and therefore last longer. In Southern Estonia, bishop's weed was added to bread dough; the plant was also used as a wrap to reduce inflammation. These days, healthy eating enthusiast use bishop's weed to make a variety of treats, even jam.

Cowslip blooms in May and June. This beautiful spring flower has over 200 names in Estonian. It only takes on fresh cowslip leave to fill the daily vitamin C quota of an adult. Cowslip believed to flush out unnecessary substances from the body, help with cell renewal, have a calming effect, reduce anxiety and insomnia, relieve headaches and migraines, reduce couching and remove sputum. Cowslip is great for making tea, blooms are ideal for use in salads.

Workshops and flavours from nature

Photo by: Danel Rinaldo, Visit Estonia


Come and learn more about local herbs in the workshops of the Energy farm (Energia talu) or take part in vegetable workshops of the Klaara-Manni eco garden (Klaara-Manni maheaed).

You can also invite a cooking workshop from the House of Flavour Experiences(Maitseelamuse Koda) to come and visit you and your friends or order Experience Catering in the Forest Restaurant (Elamustoitlustus Metsarestoranis).

Last updated : 13.03.2019

In category: Nature & Wildlife, Food & Drink & Nightlife

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