Friday, May 2, 2008

Edible Weeds Recipes

I taught a class last week on edible weeds and was surprised to see how many people were just coming around to the idea that weeds are great! I suppose I live in somewhat of an herbal bubble. :) I made up a little booklet of recipes for the class. If you are a part of the community John will be posting the pdf file so that you can print it out as a booklet. Otherwise you'll just have to read it here. :)

Common Edible Weeds
The following list is for educational purposes. Some of these plants require special harvesting times or special preparation before they are edible.

Lamb’s Quarters
Mustard Family

Yellow Dock
Stinging Nettle
Red Clover

Dandelion Pesto
2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 cup cold presses olive oil
2-3 cups freshly picked young dandelion leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Dash of sea salt

Place oil, garlic, and salt in the blender along with half of the dandelion leaves. Blend well, and then add the other half of the leaves. When finished blending it should be of a good consistency and a little runny still. Pour into a bowl and add desired amount of parmesan cheese. Occasionally I add pine nuts or ground walnuts as well. We love this pesto as a dip, on bread, pasta, salmon, or even a couple tablespoons with our scrambled eggs.

Dandelion Greens
One onion
Pinch of sea salt
2 T of olive oil or butter
2 cloves of garlic
Bunch of dandelion greens
Squirt of lemon

Begin by sautéing the onion and salt in olive oil or butter until it has turned to a rich brown color (caramelized). Add the garlic and sauté for a minute more. Add the dandelion greens and sauté until wilted and then add a squirt of lemon juice.

We use this base recipe in quiche, tacos, or simply rolled up in a large kale, chard of lettuce leaf. Delicious!

Dandelion Coffee

Collect dandelion roots after they have gone to seed or before they flower. Wash well, and cut into small pieces. At this point you can dry them well and store them for later roasting or you can roast them in a cast iron until they turn brown and have a pleasant odor. Once roasted I place a couple of tablespoon of roasted root in 8 oz of water, boil for seven minutes, add cream and enjoy.

Dandelion or Red Clover Fritters

One cup flour
One cup milk
One T baking powder
One cup corn meal
4 eggs
Dash of sea salt

One T honey (or to taste)
Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom nutmeg to taste OR

Thyme, rosemary, oregano or other savory herbs to taste

Mix the dry ingredients together and then add eggs and mix well. Add sweet or savory ingredients. Dip the flower blossoms into the mix and fry in hot oil until golden.

Wild Greens Casserole
(Recipe courtesy of Karen Sherwood)
2 cups cooked stinging nettles, amaranth greens, lamb’s quarter’s greens, mustard greens, or yellow dock greens
1/4 cup butter melted
4 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
2 garlic cloves minced
2 T Tamari or soy sauce
3 Cups cooked rice or quinoa
8 Leeks
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 t thyme and rosemary

Combine the above ingredients into a baking dish. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees

Marinated Burdock Root
(Recipe courtesy of Eaglesong at Ravencroft Gardens)
6—8 first year burdock roots
2 cups of water
2cups of tamari or soy sauce
2 cups balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic sliced
One piece of ginger

Wash and thinly slice burdock root, slice garlic and cut ginger into matchstick size pieces. Add to medium skillet with water. Sauté until burdock is just tender. Add tamari and vinegar and reheat. Pack into sterile canning jars to seal or store in refrigerator.

Dock Seed Crackers

Mix together :
One cup of dock seed flour
One teaspoon of salt
One cup flour of your choice. (My favorites are whole-wheat pastry flour and rye flour.)

Mix in enough water to make a pliable, but not sticky dough.
On a well-floured surface, roll dough as thin as possible. Cut into desired shapes or transfer it whole to a well-oiled cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 375° or until crisp. I love these hearty crackers with Brie or goat cheese.

Herbal Vinegar
To make an herbal vinegar I fill a quart jar with lightly packed herbs, then fill it with organic apple cider vinegar and cap with a plastic lid or a plastic lined metal lid. I label it, let it sit for six weeks—shaking daily.

After six weeks I strain off the material and use this vinegar in our homemade dressing.
Favorite plants to make vinegar from:
Nettle leaves Chickweed Leaves Lamb’s Quarters
Dandelion Roots Dandelion Leaves Burdock Roots
Hawthorn Berries Yellow Dock Root Cleavers

Nettle Ale
(Recipe courtesy of Karen Sherwood)
49 Stinging Nettle stalks with leaves
1 1/4 gallons of water
1 1/2 pounds of sugar
1 oz. cream of tartar
1/4 oz of yeast

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add nettles an steep 15 minutes. Strain the mnettle reserving the infusion. Add the sugar and cream of tartar stirring until dissolved. When the mixture is tepid add the yeast and stir well. Cover the container with cheesecloth and allow to sit for 4 days. Remove the residue on the top and decant without disturbing the sediment on the bottom. Bottle.