Over the years, I have found myself asking more and more questions like “Who was the first person to…”
“….decide it sounded like a good idea to eat that thing that comes out of a chicken?”
“….see what it would be like if they threw their raw Mastadon steak on the fire?”
“….be brave enough to pick that unknown plant and put it in their mouth?” (For a more comprehensive take on this one, see The Omnivore’s Dilemma)
So in my quest to live and eat a more natural and sustainable life, I have danced around the idea of foraging. The idea makes me nervous (to say the least) though and I haven’t gone anywhere with it.
Enter: our new house and garden. This summer, I have discovered the therapeutic value of weeding. Most prevalent in our garden is this:
I didn’t know what it was, but I did know that it wasn’t in a neat and tidy row planted by the previous owner. Therefore, it must be a weed. Out it comes.
But there was So.Much.Of.It. Every time I turned around, there was another patch. So I started wondering if it could be eaten. No lie, earlier in the summer I remarked to my husband (who was standing outside the garden WATCHING me weed) “I wonder what this is, and I wonder if it is edible?”
This past week, I ran across two articles in the same day about this mysterious weed. It was a sign, and now, I had a name for it: Purslane. And apparently, not only is it edible but it is incredibly good for you.
So tonight, I crossed what some would consider a line in the sand. I fed my family a weed.
What is a weed, really, except a plant growing where you don’t want it to grow? Wild rose bushes could be considered weeds if they end up taking over your tomato patch…right? Right??!?
I picked the purslane and trimmed off the stems and leaves that seemed more tender. Since it spreads out across the ground, I washed it really really well. Then I tossed it with some other garden fresh veggies (tomatoes and carrots) and a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette and served it a la side salad with our hamburgers.
Verdict? Delicious. So tender. A great peppery bite to it. Even the three year old picked it out of her salad and ate it….and ignored everything else, as a three year old will do at the dinner table.
I don’t know that I would go foraging for it out of sidewalk cracks where strange dogs may have peed on it. But I will definitely not be throwing it into the compost pile with the rest of the weeds from now on.
Purslane for the win.