Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"100" -- More Eat-It (wild)

51. I have seen recipes for stir-frying PURSLANE or making it into pesto or putting it into salads. But I don't have too much of it around here. Well, a friend asked me to keep an eye on his garden while he was gone and to please keep his green beans picked. So we have plenty of beans to enjoy right now. He also warned me that his garden was full of pigweed, and that he'd started weeding but still had a long way to go. When I got there for my first batch of green beans, I discovered his "pigweed" was what I call purslane and which is the best plant-source of Omega 3's. So when I went back for my second round of bean-pickin', I gathered some of the greens too. The purslane pesto isn't as delicious as basil pesto or parsley pesto. But it's decent. The raw leaves, however, have a very nice, tangy, "fresh" taste to them. A few could really brighten up a lettuce salad. When Andrew reluctantly tried some, his eyes lit up and he said, "Hey, that's actually good!"

52. LAMB'S QUARTER is another weed, and I have plenty of it around here. Tasting them raw, I like its flavor better than the purslane. Plenty of pictures of lamb's quarter help a person be sure of what's he gathering before he begins to cook it and learn more about the plant in various stages of growth and how to use it for food. Jackie Clay had a whole article on greens not too long ago, including purslane and pigweed and lambs quarter.

I think it should go without saying, but just in case ...
NEVER eat plants you can't identify with certainty.
And NEVER eat plants that you've poisoned. Andrew was at the park one time and picked some white clover flowers, popped them into his mouth, and quickly spat them out. He said they tasted like a bag of chemical fertilizer. Well, yeah, that's what most people do to their lawns, and the city does the same thing to the park grass.
Also avoid eating these greens/weeds if there is a lot of chemical use in nearby soils that could be contaminating your plants. Using pesticides or herbicides on plants where you eat the fruit doesn't seem as dangerous as eating the leaves of plants that have been poisoned chemically treated.
Also remember that these weeds (not unlike spinach) tend to be so high in some nutrients when eaten raw that it is usually considered best to consume them only once a week.


  1. So THAT's Lamb's quarter! I've got gobs of it, and boy, can it get tall if you let it go!

  2. Yes! I saw some lamb's-quarter on the bike ride to town today, and it was probably 4' tall, and was going to seed. LOTS of seeds.

    EC, do you find it funny (or enjoyable? or something?) when you start being able to ID the weeds you hear about on the herbicide commercials that are on the radio where you live? I never heard herbicide commercials on Chicago radio or Milwaukee radio, but I sure did when I listened to Janesville's WCLO, and it made me remember back-home in your part of fly-over country.

  3. I have an invasion of the purslane/pigweed or what I call portulaca around my lettuces this year. Maybe I'll let some grow and toss them in some soups this fall. I wonder how it would freeze.

  4. Not a comment on your post, but a comment on your comment about herbicide commercials.

    When my parents moved out here from Boston, my mom was devastated to lose her East Coast. And she said after she saw her first hybrid corn commercial on TV that she was sure she'd moved to another planet! I still think of that when I see them (at home), and I do find them pretty darn hilarious.

    *sigh* I love the midwest.