Saturday, March 19, 2016

First Wild Greens Of 2016

I’d noticed last fall that a steep bank at the edge of the Wally World parking lot had resprouted some nice, tender dandelions after they’d cut the brush. Unfortunately, the frost got them before I did. The day before Saint Paddy’s day, the pooch and I were parked directly in front of that bank while my wife picked up a few things. Seeing a few familiar yellow blooms on the bank, I took a WW shopping bag and hobbled up the steep bank with my cane.

The leaves weren’t that big, but they were TENDER! Dead grass intertwined the leaves, making it tedious to stand on the steep bank and pick cleanly. Finally, I decided to tear off the entire whorls above ground level, taking what grass came with them. I also added a few narrow-leaf docks leaves scarcely bigger than the dandelion leaves. My sloppy picking style allowed me to raid the patch and return to the truck fairly quickly. When I got home, I hid them in a bin in the fridge, so the missus wouldn’t growl about me filling up the shelves.

I hadn’t felt like cooking them when I’d expected, so I checked them this morning and discovered that a few leaves were getting a bit limp. So, I went ahead and sorted out the grass, and a few wilted leaves, and returned them to their hiding place. This evening, while my wife was engrossed in a TV show, I brought them to a rolling boil, then turned down the gas flame and kept them at a low simmer for 10 minutes.

The missus finally realized that I was AWOL and came charging in just about the time that the greens were done, but she refused my offer of a small serving. She always does, fearing that I’ve picked water hemlock, I suppose, though she brags about how her mother always used to pick greens. I enjoyed my own small serving with a large dollop of semi-melted butter, leaving about the same amount to enjoy tomorrow. I’ll soon have a picking close around the house if I can get them harvested before I have to mow the yard. Yum! The missus won’t eat them, either; she says they probably have dog piss on them. I tell her that’s why I rinse them before I cook them! She’s never amused by my comments.

Hey, in a couple months, the common milkweed should be up! I think milkweed is the queen of wild greens, although it might be in a tie with pokeweed. I’m considering trying to cultivate both. Even if it doesn’t work out, I now make notes in a foraging notebook as to where I need to watch for such things, so I have no excuse not to “go green.” © 2016


Gail said...

We always welcome the greens of spring. Poke, dock, lamb's quarter, dandelion, oh, the list goes on. Nothing quite like that first mess of greens. I kinda like good moist cornbread and green onions with mine...a meal fit for royalty.

We let a few of our poke plants grow. The birds love the berries and we can always be assured of a crop the next spring.

Ralph Goff said...

Nothing much green here yet but soon my yard will be a mass of dandelions. Never considered eating them but maybe I should look into that. At least they won't have 2-4D herbicide on them as a lot of people do spray their yards to eliminate the "weeds".

Gorges Smythe said...

A few folks make pies from the berries, Gail; everyone else says they're poison!

Good point, Ralph, You can also make wine from the blooms!