Ground Elder Season
Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is a perennial plant that typically emerges in spring and early summer. The young leaves are the most delicious and flavorful and should be harvested before the plant flowers. The best time to forage for the leaves is in April and May.
Where to Find it
Ground elder is a common weed found in temperate regions throughout Europe and Asia. It often grows along hedges, in forests, parks and gardens. Look for it in moist soil in shady places. Ground elder spreads quickly and is often a nuisance to gardeners.
The taste of ground elder is reminiscent of parsley with a slightly bitter and peppery flavor. The young leaves have a milder flavor, while the older leaves are more pungent.
Ground elder can be identified by its characteristic jagged leaves and hollow stems. The stems can grow up to one meter tall. The leaves are light green and the plant produces small white flowers in late spring.
It is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is often used as a substitute for parsley or celery in soups, stews and salads. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Try making them into a pesto, add them to a bread dough or as a filling in a pie.
Ground elder is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and calcium. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis and digestive problems. It also has diuretic properties, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation.