Monday, June 15, 2009
A Wild Thing to Do
It was been a beautiful spring and early summer here on Whidbey Island. We have had more sun than usual at this time of year and the garden is expressing herself exuberantly. I have planted a few vegetables this year and have been rewarded with wonderful romaine lettuce, dinosaur kale, and walla walla sweet onions. More veggies to come soon.... What I am especially enjoying this year are the weeds. I am inspired to share a few ways to utilize the weeds in your garden. It is quite a wild thing to do and offers you incredible minerals and even healing in every mouthful.
Our Chickweed Stellaria media is still coming up in many places, cool evenings and shady area are helpful for its continuation. Chickweed is cooling, nourishes our skin, our eyes, and is a tonic for the heart among other wise healing ways.
Sow Thistle Sonchus oleracea is another wild green packed with mineral salts. You may be weeding this plant out, even cursing it and not realized its potential for nourishing.
Isla Burgess tells us in her book, Weed's Heal that Sow Thistle cools fevers, returns health to intestinal issues, and nourishes the blood.
Lamb's Quarters Chenopodium album: I am so happy this weed returned to my garden this year. It is one of my favorite cooked greens, it out does kale and spinach for mineral richness and flavor.
Wild Greens Pesto: Gather chickweed, sow thistle leaves and lamb quarter leaves (the ladder two best harvested before flowering) cut them up just a bit and put them in a food processor with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Blend this and add more olive oil until you get a nice paste. If you have basil you could add a bit of that for flavor, or any of the Mediterranean herbs (Rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano).You can add fresh garlic if you like or fresh young onions from your garden. Cook whole wheat spaghetti pasta until al dente, strain and mix in your pesto. Sprinkle parmesan or feta cheese on this and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Red Clover Trifolium pratense infusion and vinegar: The red clover returned this year with a gusto. The deep fushia flowers are abundant and covered with bees. I have been harvesting the flowers everyday and placing them on a flat basket away from direct sunlight to dry. The warmth of the summer days helps to dry them quickly. When dry, they are ready to infuse ~ fill a jar with the dry red clover flowers, don't pack them just drop them in and fill the jar again with boiling water. Place a lid on this and leave it on the counter overnight. Strain it and drink. Iced is nice during the summer months. Red Clover nourishes your blood, your liver, your lungs, is anti-cancer and anti-tumor and is very calming. Red Clover connects us with our bloodline and promotes a sense of happiness. What an amazing repetoire for a weed!
If you have an abundance of flowers, gather them and fill a jar with them packing slightly. Then pour organic apple cider vinegar over them, label this with name and date and let this sit for about six weeks. When you strain this, you will have a sweet, nourishing and tonifying treat.
Oh, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale: There are countless ways to utilize this precious, potent plant. The dandelion leaves right now are full of the bitter richness that support healthy digestion. Gather the dandelion leaves in a basket. Hold several leaves at one time and snip them small. Fill a jar with these leaf pieces and then fill again with organic apple cider vinegar.
Six weeks of infusing allow the abundant minerals to be released into the vinegar. Strain this and eat it on salad, on cooked green (someone say lamb's quarters) or put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass with water and drink 10 minutes before eating. This will support your body to metabolize more minerals.
When I gather plants for eating and for crafting, I always ask permission to harvest. The plants are most often agreeable to my request. I listen to these compassionate beings and I am told which leaves to harvest, how much and sometimes other bits of wisdom are offered. It is a life close to the earth that is cultivated with this practice.
May it be in Beauty.