Monday, April 8, 2013

Eat those pesky weeds!

I’ve been reading about all the edible plants, flowers, mushrooms, even tree leaves, that are free for the taking right from our back yards. 

I’ve pulled a lot of henbit, chickweed and dead nettles from my flower beds in times past, and I never once considered that I might be throwing away perfectly good food, but apparently I was.    

Dandelions are considered some of the peskiest weeds in the yard, but every part of them is edible-- blooms, leaves, even the roots. 

Dandelion roots can be dried and brewed to make a coffee-like drink.  The leaves can be mixed with other wild greens and cooked, or they can be mixed with other greens in a salad. 

Tonight I tried frying some of the blossoms, as one of my aunts used to do.     

They weren’t too bad at all—kind of reminded me of fried summer squash, actually. 

I picked a couple of handfuls of the yellow blooms and trimmed away as much of their green stems as I could.

(Try to do your foraging somewhere that you know hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides (but keep in mind that most of what you buy from the store has been sprayed repeatedly.))

I rinsed the flowers in a colander under running water and spread them on a paper towel in the dish drainer to dry. 

A couple of hours later, I dipped the bright blossoms in beaten egg and dusted them with flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper.  I fried some in olive oil and a few in canola oil.  I couldn’t tell a lot of difference in the taste, but the canola oil didn’t overheat as easily. 

Some of the dandelion flowers began to fall apart because I cut too much of the green part away, so I just mixed the egg, flour, cornmeal and a bit of milk into a batter and stirred the dandelions into that.  I poured the batter into a hot oiled skillet and made fritters from those. 

Both the fried blossoms and the fritters were pretty tasty.  I topped a big green salad with the fried dandelions, some green onions and an oil and vinegar dressing.  I garnished the salad with a few fresh violets, which are also edible. 

Not only was the salad fresh and healthy, but I thought it looked very pretty. 

What do you think? 

Have you every foraged for what most folks now consider non-traditional foods? 


1 comment:

  1. I've never tried dandelions, but I've often wondered what they would taste like.
    Beth @ Life on Devils Hollow