Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Edible Weeds: Chickweed

Our summer has been very late this year- and I was so wishing for homegrown food that I've stooped to eating the weeds. Chickweed is a pretty little weed mind you- and only really a weed in the sense that I don't plant it- it grows in wet shady environments- like grass, and it also seems to seed itself in all my garden containers, I used to pull it out- aiming to look like I had really good weeding skills, but now I leave it- because this winter I found out that it's edible, and tasty.

So when my mesclun mix seeds rotted in our wet soil- I found myself stretching our salads with the things we usually don't eat- (the above salad has violets in it as well as chickweed- and they taste really nice- I've been trying to think of what they taste like- but purple jellybeans is about the closest I can come to it- they're floral and violet tasting-yummy).  Chickweed has little leaves, and succulent stems and tiny white daisy like flowers- which are a bit tougher to eat. It's a refreshing taste- and is especially good when tossed lemon and a dash of salt and pepper- we've been eating it on burgers in stead of lettuce and it's so good crispy and tart.

I also have been letting it grow in my planters and I love the way it fills in the empty spots and even trails down over the edge- very pretty with it's leggy stems and small flowers, I just pinch it back a bit to try to keep it under control so that it doesn't choke out the things I actually grew. It takes a bit of adjusting though- to the mindset that weeds should be gotten rid of, that black dirt is a sign of productivity, I've been hearing more and more about biodynamic gardening, which holds that some deep rooted plants bring nutrients and minerals up into the top soil so that the plants you grew can access it. And I need to read more about this- because honestly it's making me feel a little guilty about weeding.

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