So, finally, the mildest, softest and most promising season of the year is ready to welcome us! If I had lived more than two thousand years ago in ancient Rome, I’d be getting ready to celebrate the Floralia festival (April 28 to May 3) in honor of Flora, goddess of nature. I would share the religious ceremonies and the sacrifices, the goat and hare races and probably even throw broad beans, symbol of fertility and wealth. There is just one doubt: should I have been a man to be able to do all this?
A little more northerly, instead, always two thousand years ago, I would have been gathering young green tops of edible plants perfect to be transformed into food, a nice hot soup for example, to recharge me with vitamins and mineral salts, so hard to find during the winter in cold countries. Knowing me quite well I would have fought side by side with the Green Man, companion of the Goddess of the Earth and together we would have snatched out of the frozen clutches of the King of the Winter the fields, forests and meadows, allowing nature to restore. A touching ceremony which in Italy however does not serve because the King of Winter, at least until today, has but sent some freezing wind blows and a couple of snowflakes.
Therefore, I will celebrate the arrival of spring as I always do, going for a walk; weather permitting, even two or three. I breathe the mild air, admire nature, which is incredibly beautiful indeed, and search for young greens and/or flowers to be transformed into salad, boiled vegetables for stuffing or jam. Sometimes I wonder if I were a flower what I’d like to be. A light green hellebore, very elegant and gracious with its head bowed downwards?
No, that’s not my thing. A daisy then, a tiny sunflower with white petals, at the moment still on very short stalks to avoid catching the few yet cold wind blows of the winter. No, rather not. A snowdrop then? More likely, but it lives hidden in damp underwood, not my favorite place. A crocus? Stunning! I love the ephemeral fragility and the pale violet color. But it’s too delicate! This could never be me. Well what then? I don’t know, I want color! A violet? Why not but then…I don’t know. A daffodil? Right! It has a long stalk compared with the other spring flowers and therefore a perfect overview! Furthermore I really like the shiny yellow color. Last but not least, it has a very subtle but lovely fragrance which most of the people to not even notice. Ok I think I’d be a daffodil.
Time flies, real life with its responsibilities is waiting. What was I looking for? Of course, taraxacum or dandelion blossoms, perfect for jelly, delicious on toasted bread but very useful against colds, too. Here’s the recipe.
4 handfuls of fresh organic bright dandelion flowers
1,5 l of water
1 kg of sugar circa
2 lemons, juice
Pull the yellow petals from the green flower cups. Boil for about ten minutes in 1,5 l of water. Leave to cool for half a day. Strain and weigh. Add the same quantity of sugar and the lemon juice and boil on a fairly high flame until the liquid has reached the right
consistency. (Drop a small spoonful of jelly onto a plate. Leave to cool for two, three minutes, then slightly tilt the plate. The jelly is ready, if it slowly glides down. If it’s too liquid, continue boiling and stirring until the right consistency is reached). This may take more than an hour but you avoid adding chemical pectin to your one hundred percent natural product which makes the effort worth. Transfer into clean glass containers and seal immediately.
Anneliese Rabl …. finding a life in Tuscany