From The Farmer's Almanac, Tuesday, March 20, 2007:
Vernal Equinox, 8:07 P.M. EDT
The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning "equal night." The vernal, or spring, equinox is the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north, signaling the beginning of nature's renewal in the Northern Hemisphere.
You may celebrate today, Tuesday, or better yet, tomorrow, as the First Day of Spring. The day that Winter has died and Spring has been born. The flowers will begin blooming, the trees will burst forth in varied shades of green, the birds begin to build their nests, and All is ahead of us. Hope is alive once more.
For those of you still wrapped in bitter cold, snow drifts and ice, don't worry. For warmth is coming. Soon enough you will put away your coats and gloves, break out your sweaters, and breath in the fragrances that herald the growing season.
From The Farmer's Almanac:
MARCH SPRING TONICS
THE VERNAL EQUINOX marks the moment of spring, but the appearance of the first greens makes it real. The early settlers in New England were firm believers in the tonic effects of eating spring greens: they were said to stimulate the digestion, purify the blood, cure scurvy and ague, combat rheumatism, and repel kidney stones. Let's face it -- anything fresh and green no doubt tasted great after a wearisome winter of salt pork and dried beans.
Dandelions were so valued that they were cultivated in gardens. French and Dutch settlers favored using the tender young leaves in salads, either fresh or blanched. Others preferred the leaves as one would spinach or make them into soup. (Those who boiled dandelion greens in water often made a point of drinking the "pot likker" or cooking water, which was, in fact, loaded with water-soluble vitamins.)
Rhubarb, or pieplant, was widely regarded as a fine spring tonic to aid the blood and the digestive system. Cooked and stewed rhubarb was called "spring fruit" in early cookbooks. Rhubarb found its way into pies, puddings, tarts, preserves, and even soups.
Another popular spring tonic was made by boiling together bunches of sweet fern, sarsaparilla, wintergreen and sassafras and using the brew as a basis for beer, adding hops, molasses,and brewer's yeast for extra bounce.
Follow the links to see what recipes and advice the Farmer's Almanac has to offer. Aside fromt hat, well, take heart! Spring is here! Winter is dead or dying!
BTW: If you haven't seen Farmer's Almanac TV, check your PBS schedule. I've seen it twice and it was a nice program. Informative, nostalgic, worth the time. Check it out!