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Appalachian Spring Greens

Vegetarians, farmers, or fresh food zealots love coming to the Appalachians because of the opportunity for fresh greenery. Come rent a cabin in Pigeon Forge, or a cabin in Gatlinburg, and take a peak for yourself how the Appalachians are filled with the perfect fresh greenery and vegetables-packed with nutrients, and a delicious taste.

Before people relied on getting their nutrients from vitamin pills and supermarkets, the first days of spring had people rushing outside to gather the fresh green leaves of vegetation known collectively as pot herbs, greens, garden sass, or sallet. All of the wild greens offer tons of good and nutritious food filled with minerals and vitamins. It is essential to know and distinguish these plants at a premature stage of growth; because they must be collected early and when they are tender. If one waits too long to gather them, they become tough and bitter as they get large in size. Several of the greens that are Appalachian favorites are sheep sorrel, dandelion, poke, dock, lamb’s quarters, and mustard. Many Appalachians say that they are better than any spinach that comes canned, frozen, or even from the garden.

Asparagus, which is sparrowgrass, is a refined vegetable that regularly runs wild along roadsides, old fields, or sticks with around old farm sites. Asparagus looks like a tiny evergreen, with fine leaves that are needlelike. This unique vegetable has bright red berries containing seeds on the ends of their branches, and have small blossoms which are yellow. Their seeds in ancient times were on occasion roasted as a coffee alternate.

Rent a Gatlinburg cabin in the Smoky Mountain area, and keep your eyes peeled for the nodding wild onion. This small Appalachian plant got its name because it has a nodding flower head. It forms top bulbs, and its nodding head is a flower that can come in white, cream, or bright-rise colors. The nodding wild onion has a very distinct, strong odor. It grows in colonies in lush and grassy places, typically in open fields, or low areas.

The Appalachians also have the meadow onion. The meadow onion is small, like the nodding wild onion, and can measure anywhere from eight to twenty four inches high. It has flattened leaves that are similar to grass, and unique flowers which are star shaped. Top bulbs also form from the meadow onion. In addition to the nodding onion, the meadow onion has strong odor. They are found in meadows, and open woods.

Both the wild nodding and meadow onions have leaves, and bulbs that you can eat. Many Appalachians people use their flavoring in recipes both separate and together. Flavored soups often have the leaves and bulbs of the onions, while they pickle their bulbs.

Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are another wild plant food that many Appalachians rush to pick in the spring. Ramps are grown in woods, ravines and coves; and can grow up to twelve inches high. They have distinct broad leaves which are similar to lilies. When ramp’s leaves die, stalks of a greenish-yellow flower replace them. Many cooks, farmers, and Appalachians agree they have a distinct taste- you either love it or hate it. If ramps do have your favor, try them in a salad, or mashed potatoes.

Who says you are have to seek a Dollywood adventure to come to the Smoky Mountains? Farmers, cooks, and vegetarians will love and appreciate the variety of spring greens in the Great Smoky Mountains. Check out the Appalachian diversity of wild plant foods- call and book your Gatlinburg cabin rental today.