As the growing season continues, so does the growing season for weeds.
At their peak now, in Minnesota at least, are edible weeds #3 and #4: Purslane and Stinging Nettle. I have to admit, aside from snacking on Purslane I haven’t “really” eaten these yet, as in a meal, but will in a matter of hours.
As I’ve mentioned before, my son has a garden at the Arboretum. It’s through him that edible weed #3 was brought to my attention – Purslane. He came home from his garden day with a huge harvest of a spreading succulent called Purslane. My first thought was “Okay, what are we going to do with this?” His response? “Eat it!” Since then he’s been spotting it throughout our garden, yard, containers, pretty much everywhere we go. After doing a little investigation and having a few samplings, I’ve determined we’re most likely going to have it in a salad or on sandwiches (or both since he’s harvested so much of it). You can also stir fry it, steam it, put it in soups… the list goes on. It is, of course, loaded with nutrients too, so while you weed your garden, you can harvest your next dose of vitamins and minerals. Two birds, one stone.
Edible weed #5: Stinging Nettle. Yikes! Anyone who has inadvertently run into stinging nettle can attest to the fact that well, it stings! I’ve done it more than a couple of times in my life and sadly, yes, I’ve felt the pain each time. (You’d think I’d learn, wouldn’t you?) Most of the time when this happens I’m irritated with myself and while running cool water on my hands, arms, etc. I think “Why? Why do we have this plant? What is the point?” The point is… again… they’re good for you and from what I understand, quite tasty. How to harvest these without pain? The first step is to wear gloves! Next go down to about the 3rd set of leaves, then clip the stem. Throw them in a paper bag for safe transportation and if drying, you can leave them right in the bag. Otherwise, nettle can be blanched (boiled briefly then dropped into ice water) and used in a variety of ways.
Funny isn’t it? The more you know about a weed, the less “weedy” they become. It’s all about perspective…
Weeds. Get to know ‘em.