Wild greens, anyone?
Early spring is the time to switch from sweet roots and spices to bittersharp new shoots and leaves. Time for cool air and new light after warm dark hibernation.
Peppergrass is one of my favorite spring greens. It’s also called “pepper cress” and “poor man’s pepper,” and it’s sprouting up all over my yard right now.
Young peppergrass leaves can be used anywhere you might use watercress. I like them mixed in scrambled eggs with a few wild onions. The flowers are tasty too (I saw one little plant blooming already) and the seeds can be sprinkled on food as a sharp, mustardy seasoning (“poor man’s pepper”).
UPDATE: I originally posted that this peppergrass was a Lepidium species. AnneTanne and Tammy pointed out that it looks a lot like Cardamine hirsuta. Now that I look at it, I’m convinced it’s a Cardamine, but I’m not sure which one (cresses are notoriously hard to identify). Calling it Lepidium was just lazy and spaced-out on my part — I do have a lot of Lepidiums in my yard, and I call them peppergrass too. So I had peppergrass = Lepidium in my head, and I didn’t bother to look it up. Live and learn.
(I grew up calling all peppery little cresses “peppergrass.” Perhaps I should teach myself some new common names to alleviate the species confusion? Alright. Cardamines are “bittercress” and Lepidiums are “peppercress.” Maybe I’ll try that. In any case, they’re all tasty in salad.)