Anyone with a garden knows about weeds, but most people don’t realize that a lot of them are not only edible, but actually pretty good, and even more nutritious than the green stuff that we grow intentionally. And of course, they always seem to do better than the plants that you’re trying to pamper.
I picked some lambsquarter and sorrel to go with dinner; most greens can be used in pretty much the same ways that spinach would be – in a salad, sautéed, steamed, etc. Lambsquarter is “low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, thiamine, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.” (Nutritiondata.com). Sorrel has a unique taste to it, almost citrusy (which is actually due to oxalic acid, so don’t go eating bushels at a single sitting), and is a great source of vitamin C. These were both used extensively in earlier years, but have gone out of favor as people tried (in vain) to achieve perfectly manicured landscapes.
For this dinner, I sautéed the greens with some butternut squash, onion, garlic, and an apple, and tossed it all with some farro.
Ben P says
FYI, you need to be careful with wild greens. I did this a while ago and my grandmother found out and needed to warn me. She said they regularly ate wild stuff when growing up during the depression. Her sister in particular ended up “burning out” her liver from the ingesting of lots of wild plants.
I’ve seen a few things about this, particularly related to the ones containing oxalic acid, and seen several recommendations for cooking them in water with some baking soda to neutralize the acid.
We love goosefoot in the spring time when the leaves are new and young and tender, tossed in salads or sauteed in garlic and olive oil.
I recently went on a foraging hike with a local expert, foraging is a forgotten way. Unless it comes wrapped in cellophane from the grocery store, most people don’t have a clue that it’s food!