Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Foraging of the Year

TODAY we harvested from our garden - and we haven't even planted our vegetable garden yet! The plants we harvested are often called weeds, which, as 'plants growing in an undesirable place' (i.e. the flower bed) they were to us too. 'Undesirable plants,' however, they were not.

Yellow wood sorrel has compound leaves divided into three parts, each shaped like a heart. In England it's also known as cuckoo sorrel, because its small yellow flowers bloom when the cuckoo sings. The delicate leaves close at night and supposedly when it's about to rain too. Most of all they have a delicious lemon flavour and are great for snacking.

Chickweed is one of the most common edible 'weeds' and has a tiny white star-shaped flower. The leaves and flower buds are hairy. It's very nutritious and a good addition to salad.

And today we found some tiny shoots of pokeweed! See here for previous adventures with this leafy green vegetable. I have to admit this is more fun to harvest than to boil twice, but somehow it is reassuring to know that we can eat from the garden/the wild just by knowing what to look for. However far so many "foods" in the supermarket are from their original state, it is still possible to eat the healthy way of our ancestors. Providing, of course, your backyard is not sprayed with pesticides :-)

Photo credit: and Emily Porter

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