This year, I will be studying Botany with a focus on Wild Edible Plants, in which I will basically hunt for and find wild edible plants, write short descriptions, draw and take pictures, and, most painfully, eat the plants prepared in some way.
I decided to do some independent study before the school year begins in earnest. I found some edible weeds right here in our yard.
I harvested some poke weed (phytolacca americana) leaves, gallant soldier (galinsoga quadriradiata) leaves, and some portulaca oleracea, or common purslane.
Poke weed is normally poisonous, but you can eat the nutritious young leaves and young stems, but nothing else. I found some young plants, picked some leaves and made an omelette with them. It was pretty good, but honestly, after you cook the greens and add eggs and cheese, it all just tastes the same.
With the gallant soldier (also called French weed and alot of other things), I boiled the leaves and tender stems and then added some salt, butter, and pepper. Once again, after you cook the greens, it all tastes basically like spinach.
With the purslane, I made a small salad with lettuce, sprigs of purslane, and tomato and added a tiny bit of dressing. The weed was very crunchy and juicy and was probably my favorite of the three plants. It is also probably the most nutritious of the three, but I’d say that if there was nothing else to eat, since all three plants won’t kill you and they all taste fine, they would all be good enough for me to eat.
The only thing about gathering and eating these plants is that they are looked upon as weeds where we live. We step on them, mow them down, pull them out, etc. and so they may not seem as appealing as our cultivated plants. The other thing that bothered me was that these three particular plants are not in my text book so perhaps these aren’t very good wild edible plants, I don’t know.
Anyway, I ate my wild meal two days ago and am feeling just fine. Also, there will be more of these posts, and with any luck they’ll go beyond just greens. I should have some interesting meals to share with everyone this year!