it’s a weed. One that grows wild...and one that you can safely and nutritiously eat. I’d read about this plant here and there on the interwebz, and my interest was piqued. A food that's wonderfully healthy for you, reputed to be delicious, and possibly...free? Oh, yes. I'm all over that like bees on honey. It’s apparently becoming quite popular in culinary circles and with the locavore movement. In a time where food costs are soaring, anything that can cut down on the grocery bill is a bonus.
Anyway, I found some at the Farmer’s Market and brought home a bag containing more than I’ll possibly be able to eat for $2.50. You can eat it raw, (And I did nibble at it a little. It tastes like any other raw green...with an unexpected almost lemony zing to it!) or you can use it in the same way you’d use spinach. I opted for the cooked method, since I'm not a huge fan of green salads. For my first experiment with the stuff I tossed a handful of the little leaves into my rice maker with some brown rice, onions, red peppers, and split peas. Garlic and seasonings too, of course. This is my go-to recipe when I want something filling and satisfying without putting a whole lot of work in.
I'll be honest, what came out of the ricemaker didn't look nearly so appetizing. The leaves had wilted, of course, and the colour had changed to a pale and washed out runny green. Whereas spinach usually keeps it's deep green colouring. But the whole mixture smelled pretty good and I was famished, so I dug right in with my fork. The outcome? Delicious, as advertised. That lemony zing I mentioned really comes out when you cook it. Quite tasty.
In the future, I'll be keeping an eye out for areas where I can harvest the wild stuff. Or maybe it will become a fixture in my 2011 garden. In the meantime, even if I eat it every day for the next week, I probably still won't make it through the whole bag. Pretty good value for $2.50. Even better value when I find my own source. I'll keep you updated.