Sunday, February 06, 2011

I gathered greens for dinner while hiking

Today on a hike with the Sierra Club, as we walked under a live oak tree, I pointed out to my friend who is from France and is familiar with edible plants, that there were lots of edible greens under the tree. The two of us got out our plastic bags and filled them up with stinging nettles and chickweed.

Later, after I got home from the hike, I decided to walk to the grocery store to get some ingredients to make a soup from my greens. Along the way I noticed a hillside was full of miner's lettuce. I picked some of them and brought them home with my groceries.

I made a soup with commercial mushrooms and onions and my wild greens. I have never eaten chickweed and nettles before. They were delicious. I intend to pick lots more nettles and chickweed and make different dishes from them. They tasted much like spinach without the astringent aftertaste. Sweeter and better than spinach. I think a quiche would be good with these wild greens, or just a simple side dish.

The nice thing about chickweed is it grows everywhere. It's a weed and is all over the backyard. Stinging nettle is harder to find, but not impossible. When I worked at the garden at the mission it would pop up after rain. There may be some in the backyard.

Nettles are a little hard to deal with. I used my plastic bag to pick it so I wouldn't touch it. I was careful not to pull it out of the ground so I didn't bring home any dirty roots. I rinsed it in a colander without touching it. Then I chopped it up without touching it. Then scraped it off the cutting board into the soup without touching it. I've touched it before when pulling weeds and it really hurts.

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