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Not all they’re cracked up to be

30 Jun

The folks on my street should back me up on this one, I do not mow the lawn very often, but today I gave it a whirl. What my neighbors don’t know and I hope you’ll keep my secret is, I avoided cutting the so-called weeds in the sidewalk cracks.

This is a bit of an eye test so you may choose to click on to enlarge the photos, but in this one shot we have from left to right (1) yellow wood sorrel, (2) dandelion greens, (3)  plantain, (4) pineapple weed and (5) sheperd’s purse, so a nice group of edible and medicinal plants which I won’t recommend you using from a site this close to a street, but these are potential collecting locations for seeds to be grown inside or in gardens or wild gardens.

Here are the same plants from a different angle. Sidewalks and gravelly train tracks have been generous providers of plant seeds from plants that are rare this far north such as milkweed and purslane. So I think I’ll collect some yellow sorrel and pineapple weed from a patch I have at the edge of my garden, which I didn’t mow today as well and try them combined in an ice tea as it’s 90 plus here. Wishing you a very weedy weekend. ciao

The (yellow goatsbeard) is always greener, naturally

15 May

Usually if you find one yellow goatsbeard, there will probably be hundreds to thousands close by. The trick is to return to an area where you have noticed they were blooming in the previous summer or fall.

This photo here highlights the issue, yellow goatsbeard is all but indistinguishable from many of the meadow grasses, so walk slowly and only look a few feet in front or to the sides and often there will be a joyous realization you have entered a place where the grass is never greener or tastier. 

Enjoy your gatherings as this must be one of the easiest wild edible plants to collect as it is very similar to being in a very pleasant garden, where you are relaxed in a gentle focus.

Here we see the brown latex yellow goatsbeard releases when cut, it has a mild bitterness which is pleasant if tasted raw. I cut the white sections of these plants shown here which measures around 3 inches and steamed them and simply ate these with butter, salt & pepper. I’m somewhat surprised Tragopogon pratensis & also T dubius are not already commerical crops. I suspect it is a shelf life issue as these are comparable to the best items in any vegetable market I’ve been to. If may also be the fact this relative of Salsify has a smaller root than the famous European plant, thought the secret to yellow goatsbeard are the parts above the roots, so for now lets enjoy this wild one.

The remaining upper leaves can be cut into small pieces and added to salads or you could do as we did today and make a (cream of yellow goatsbeard) which is even tastier than it sounds. Enjoy these common gifts presented naturally to you. chow for now