Saturday, June 28, 2008

A new take on Weeds

A New Take On Weeds: Gardening in the high desert tends to make one look with wonder upon the various weeds that somehow thrive in the glaring sun, blasting wind, and swinging temperatures. When you've pulled the hundredth lambsquarter seedling from your grasshopper-ridden lettuce patch, you figure it's time to determine if this weed really is, in fact, tasty—you've heard this over the years but have never, until now, felt driven to see for yourself. Traditional southwestern cooking has long recognized the merits of two common weeds, lambsquarters and purslane. The following recipes are from Historical Cookery, by Fabiola Gilbert, published in 1970 by La Galeria de los Artesanos.

Quelites (Lambsquarters)
2 T. fat
2 T. chopped onion
2 c. finely chopped, cooked lambsquarter greens
1 T. chile seed
1 t. salt
½ c. cooked pinto or bolito beans

Place fat in skillet, fry chopped onion, add chopped greens, season with chile seeds, add cooked beans (cooked whole) and salt. Salt pork, cut fine, may be used for frying; leave it in for flavor.

Verdolagas (Purslane)
3 c. purslane
4 T. fat or ½ c. diced salt pork
2 T. chopped onion
1 c. shredded cooked meat (jerky preferred)
1 t. ground coriander seed
Salt to taste

Wash purslane, leaving stems. Fry onion in fat; add purslane and meat. Season. Cover and cook until tender.

I had seen books on edible weeds but couldn't "find" them anywhere till we moved to the country. Holy cow! I should just quit gardening and live off the lambsquarters, purslane, amaranth, marshmallow, and so many more! We have everything around here and LOTS of it.

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