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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weeds, Revisited

This weekend I attended the second annual edible weeds class offered nearby. It was very interesting. Dr. Peter Gail was the instructor again and he was right that we will only remember what we use, as I lost the ability to identify three of the plants I was interested in last year. Fortunately the others were easy and we did use them, so this year I could concentrate on those plants I had a real interest in getting cemented in there. Here they are:

Purslane- I saw this in my tomato bed last year and I recognized it faintly but didn't go any further. This plant is the world's richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids! That's phenomenal. He had mentioned pickling it last year, and one lady was listening, because she did just that and brought samples to share.

Amaranth- I buy this from the co-op and it is quite pricey. I thought it would be good to know it well since it grows abundantly in this area, but I couldn't quite tell if it was what I had. It's nice to go back because often they will have a different tip on identification that really helps.

Jewelweed- this one is not an edible. The leaves can be used as a poison ivy poultice, and the tiny seeds inside the flower are the ones that look like poppy seeds and taste like walnut. I remembered the description but not to which plant it belonged. Now I know, and there are a ton of these in our fields!

Dr. Gail remarked how in 6 months' time, his average class size went from 75 to 250. People had a choice before, and now it is a necessity. In fact, last year there was once session. This year there were three. And they were all full. I signed up to do registration and help out so I could get in free ;). I gathered a bunch of literature to send to the friends I know are weed eaters, and for those who have large families and small incomes like us. If anybody else wants some, just let me know! They had samples this year as well, and I went a little crazy over the empanadas! Not that I ate more than my share (2) but I wanted to run right home and make them. Unfortunately, I will have to modify the recipe because the plan Bren shared with me is working and I don't want to wreck it by eating a whole tray of weed appetizers in a white-flour and butter crust.

We had lambsquarter pizzas for lunch and I'm planning spaghetti with purslane garlic bread for dinner. Yep- we're eating grass tonight!


Ellen said...

Ah! I just took a photo of jewelweed on my walk the other day! I just took it because it was stuck in the middle of larkspurs and stuck out so nicely.

Berean Wife said...

This is fast becoming a lost art. I wish I had expressed more interest when my grandmother was alive, since she knew so much about plant identification (not the technical names but the uses).

Berean Wife