I did it because no one else would try them.
I hope it didn’t bring back nightmares of the kitchen experiments I had my parents eat when I was a child. She did sneak a call in to my Dad with some last words, and then later called back to assure him she was still alive.
Recently, after reading about other friends’ foraging adventures, I set out to try it with my son. I figured it would be a great way to get him out of the house and I could teach him more about the wonderful goodness of nature. Mainly he felt bored and itchy. He usually does, though, being that he’s 13.
After a stop at the library to gather a reference guide to Edible Plants in our region, we headed out to find plants. We gathered a number of specimens until my son was distracted by the itching, and then by the presence of other kids.
They Aren’t Just Weeds
At home, I laid out the specimens and worked on identifying them using the pictures and descriptions in my field guide. I discarded any I wasn’t sure about, along with the one labeled as “edible, but generally used to induce vomiting.”
The keepers were a mixture of dandelion, violet, wild onion, chickweed, watercress, and creeping Charlie. Since I prefer my greens cooked, rather than in a salad, I rinsed them and tossed them with olive oil in a skillet.
I seasoned them with garlic, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper. My pile of weeds shrunk down to a single tiny serving. It was so good! The medley of flavors and textures was perfect, especially with the delicate violet flowers and the not yet opened dandelion buds. My mother-in-law happened to be visiting then, and she sat there with my husband and son, all staring at me like I’d lost my mind. No one wanted a bite.
Hence, when my own mother visited, I thought she might be the perfect victim, um, tester for my new-found treat. I cooked a lovely dinner of pan-seared salmon with sides of roasted sweet potato disks and crispy cooked greens.
After an exclamation of “You mean you picked these in your yard?” and a more tentative, “Are you sure they are safe?” (and the call to my Dad), she ate it all. She agreed that the greens were delicious, and the crispiness was a great accompaniment to the salmon.
To make our dinner:
• Scrub a large sweet potato and slice into 1/2 inch thick circles. Coat pan or potatoes with a little olive oil and place in 350 degree oven. You may also sprinkle them with salt and pepper if you desire. I left them plain since I already had planned to salt and pepper the greens and fish. Roast for 25 minutes or until starting to get light brown spots.
• Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet on Medium High. Toss in greens and salmon fillets (I used frozen fillets thawed just before cooking).
• Season with freshly ground black pepper and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. I also used a dash of lemon juice on the fish. Turn salmon when cooked halfway trough. Do not overcook.
Enjoy this delicious and healthy meal!
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