Do you need a pick-me-up? Take a cue from early American settlers and try a spring tonic. After months of eating cured meats and root vegetables, our ancestors naturally craved something fresh and green when spring rolled around. Dandelion greens, violet greens, ferns, rhubarb stems, wintergreen and other early spring herbs, boiled in water and strained, were thought to improve digestion and purify the blood in addition to providing a super charge of nutrition.
While our recipes won’t have you foraging around the woods for a delicately unfurling fern or newly emerged violets, they’ll invigorate you just the same—with vitamin C-charged lime juice, ginger and mint. Add a splash of rum or vodka, and turn your tonic into a festive adult beverage—for medicinal purposes only, of course.
—By Candace Floyd, Relish Managing Editor