Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's True, I Am a Weed Addict

This summer, I have been blessed with a bounty of edible weeds.

My first weedy love is purslane, which I have found in abundance. I usually just pick it, wash it off, and eat it out of hand. Because purslane has such a succulent texture, I prefer to eat it raw. When cooked, purslane has a texture similar to that of green beans. Besides the recipes linked to in this post, I found an interesting recipe for Turkish-style purslane salad (the comments on this post are hilarious- I'll do an attributed cut-and-paste at the end of the post). The lovely, gracious, and talented Aunt Snow (who is pursuing pie perfection this summer in some must-read posts) suggested finding a Persian purslane salad recipe, and a Google search turned up this recipe. Personally, I love the stuff so much, I'd substitute it for just about any green, or add it to mixed salads (if only I could refrain from wolfing sheeping it down long enough to get it into the kitchen).

So, on to the comment which had me laughing so hard- Cebtoo, in a reply to Greengirl's request for advice on how to grow purslane, writes:

To GREENGRL: Try to grow something else. Water once a week lightly. Everything else will die but your purslane will thrive with or without fertilizer, in sun or shade. Once you get some growing, break it up with a hoe. Spray it with broadleaf weed killer, it loves it. That's been my approach for years here in San Antonio and probably could grow 500 pounds or so in 100 square feet if I let it run wild.

Besides purslane, I am a huge fan of lamb's quarters, which grow in profusion around my neighborhood. Lamb's quarters compare favorably with spinach or kale- I usually snip the tops off the plants (so they'll continue to grow), then steam them for use in any recipe that calls for spinach.

Of course, dandelions are delicious, and are instantly identifable to just about everyone.

The nettles are past their prime, but they served me well in the spring. The Japanese knotweed is tough and woody, but I'm hoping to find some younger, tender shoots to munch on.

Yeah, I'm a weed addict, all right. With a little research, and a lot of patient observation, you can also pick up an addiction to weeds.

Sometimes, I am amazed at the effort and resources that people waste on their lawns- they are devoting their energy, time, and money to a plant that they cannot use, and cutting said plant to a length which mimics the length of a sheep-cropped field. When the weekend squire mows his lawn, he's not only trying to imitate the verdant green pastures of Lord Such-and-such, but he's doing it without the benefit of having a herd of sheep to do it for him (and to convert it into wool, meat, and milk). Luckily for my neighbors, I live in an apartment, but if I had a yard, I'd probably plant a lot of perennials.

1 comment:

  1. My Dad was a weed addict as well. He was always bringing stuff in and eating it. It was one of his passions. :)
    Ever had dandelion wine? :)

    Regarding you views on people mowing their lawns down.. I've always called Dandelions the "unloved flower". :)