Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wild Greens Again!

My wife wanted to go to the Craft 2000 yesterday afternoon, so I took her, figuring I’d take a gander around the edges of the strip mall property and see if I could find any wild greens. I took my walkin’ stick that I made a while back (which I’ve dubbed “Ol’ Possum Knocker”) and my big, black bumbershoot, since storm clouds were in the distance. That left my hands a bit full, so I threaded my Walmart “foraging bag” on my belt at my right hip.

The area I was searching gets mowed on a semi-regular basis, but there’s a drainage ditch along one side that rarely gets any grooming. That edge was my target. I found a couple dock plants that were recovering from getting mowed and had a few tender leaves. I was glad to find a few very small lambs-quarter plants. One fairly large pursley plant made a decent contribution to the bag. A couple poke plants had coarse outer leaves the mower didn’t get, and a tiny sprig of new growth sporting an even tinier spike of flower buds. I picked them both.

Then, I hit the jackpot! I’d noticed a lot of milkweed s along the back of the lot, but they were too far gone to use. However, near the left corner where the ditch entered a woody section, a small group of milkweeds had apparently been mowed off early this year and had resprouted to about half their normal height. They were at that perfect stage where the flower buds were formed, but hadn’t started to color yet. I use the buds and any leaf less than about five inches long and, within two steps, I gathered enough greens to finish the mess. For those who’ve never eaten them, I think milkweed tastes like asparagus, except better. They don’t cook down as bad as most greens, either. I made it back to the truck just before the storm hit.

When we got home, I looked through them to discard any bugs or bug-eaten leaves. I rinsed them well and then boiled them lightly for ten minutes. A dash of salt and a thick pat of butter and they were ready! I’d originally thought I’d have enough for the following evening, too, but after cooking down a bit, they amounted to about a serving-and-a-half. I offered some to my wife, but she’s too high-falutin to eat weeds anymore, so, I ate them all! © 2013

Safety note – Use your noggin when you collect on properties other than your own. Avoid any areas likely to have had herbicide or chemical fertilizer used on them.


Chickenmom said...

Your ol' possum knocker cane would get a real workout around here - those critters are everywhere!

Gorges Smythe said...

They are the ultimate survivalists, Cm. They say they were here during the dinosaur era.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We have milkweed here too, a little in my garden. I never knew what they tasted like.

Gorges Smythe said...

Kathy, be sure that it's the common variety. Black Indian Hemp is also in the milkweed family and is supposedly poisonous. It has narrower leaves, so use only plants with WIDE leaves.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Ok, thanks!

Gorges Smythe said...

You're welcome, Kathy.

Pumice said...

My son took a class on eating local plants. It sounded interesting but so far I have been too lazy. Hopefully I will find the time before it is too late.

The poison aspect always concerns me.

Grace and peace.

Gorges Smythe said...

Look at it this way, Pumice, they feed us rat poison in our bread anyway. lol