Spring is Greener with Greens

My wife and I ate spring greens again tonight for dinner. We’ve had greens every night this week. No they are not from our garden. They’re weeds!

It is truly surprising just how many weeds we pull and throw away that are perfectly great to eat. Everyone hears about eating dandelions. I think there are much better eating ones than that. My favorite pot greens through time are lambs quarters, but they won’t be ready for a long time. Right now the best ones are stinging nettle, storksbill, sorel, and dock – all common roadside weeds. Wait too long and they mature to inedible. Such it is with most greens.

One of my favorite weeds right now is a tree! The Siberian(=Chinese) elm is the weediest tree in Utah. Those pesky little seed pods called samaras that later blow everywhere in the neighborhoods to sprout little weed trees that are later difficult to pull are great food. They are easily stripped from the branches of any female tree while they are still green, and can be eaten in almost ANY way! Raw in a salad, in a bowl of oatmeal mush, lined in lasagna, added to soups, anything that you can think of. They are non-offensive and very nutricious.

Everyone knows about wild asparagus, but it is not only difficult to find, but the competition between pickers and damaging “old wives tales” about how to harvest it have destroyed much of what used to exist. I’d have to personally shoot someone before telling them where and how I harvest it. But there are vast quantities of other edibles all around us that are just as good to eat, just as healthy for us, and no one else is fighting to get to it first.

Signup for my Wasatch Community Gardens greens workshop from 10 am till noon on April 30th at the Tomato Garden, OR signup for my community education class at West High on Monday nights starting on the 25th. In the class we will be eating wild stuff every week, doing a class end pot luck, and an informal field trip. Cattails, plantain, mountain berries, morels, burdock roots – everything is game! Maybe even some road kill and dumpster diving (just kidding, … or not?)

After all this rain we’re doing prickly lettuce for dinner tomorrow night. Boiling only three minutes though!! Everyone has milkweeds growing in their gardens. And how about that purslane and pigweed later in the year? Its all good with me.

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