Eating from our yard has been a wee bit controversial. Some folks report they love it; most others seem to have an aversion to the idea. Honestly, the violet salad and the dandelion-aka “daisylion”-dishes have been some of the best eats to come out of our yard/kitchen YET. My experience with the whole concept made me feel pretty lonely.
I began to wonder if Kay Young and I were in a major minority! I was utterly delighted to discover, through my network of peeps, there is a man in Maryland who is totally on the same page! His story has been found on the pages of the news in Fulton, Maryland!
Dr. James Duke, is a former USDA researcher and expert on edible weeds. The crumbling US economy has inspired him to identify 70 edible kinds of weeds on his property in Maryland, which is 6 acres in size. Duke admonishes folks that they need expert advice when grazing. He recommends you have someone with his expertise because there are poisonous plants that look like edible plants. He warns that mistaking one for the other could be a lethal error.
Dr. Duke advises that weeds are higher in nutrients and lower in water content, proportionately, than what we grow as veggies. He complains that people spray every single dandelion and then rush to a store to purchase expensive bottles of vitamins. He is perplexed that people don’t recognize that by spraying, they just kill off some of the richest sources of vitamins A and C, as well as the minerals present in weeds.
The whole idea of weeds as food has caught on. People have been willing to pay up to $9.00 per bunch for the gourmet delicacy. People have begun to grow weeds for their livelihood and are making displays at Farmer’s Markets around the country! Is it possible that this is a silver lining in this crippled economy?
Not every weed is delicious. Some are bitter, which is indicative of anti-inflammatory or antiseptic properties.
Dr. James Duke and Kay Young, who wrote “Wild Seasons” can speak the same language. Oh, how I would love to have BOTH of these authors tour our virgin prairie and timber land in Southeast Nebraska! “Guide to Healing Foods” is the book Dr. Duke recently published. It presents natural remedies to treat 80 ailments. He is planning to offer tours of his property to people who want to learn more about eating from nature’s bounty.
Anyone who depends on SNAP-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food commodities or food pantries would be very wise to access this food source. I can promise you it would increase your health and lower the cost of medical care over time.
Here is an interesting, LOW COST, HIGH NUTRITION recipe from Dr. James Duke:
Recipe for Dandelion Greens with Balsamic Vinegar and Almonds
2 large bunches dandelion greens
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup unsalted toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 T butter
hot sauce to taste
fish sauce to taste
Remove the roots of the greens. Wash the greens thoroughly. Cut the stems in pieces roughly 1-1/2″ – 2″ long and leave the leaf-ends about 5″ – 6″ long.
Sweat the garlic and onions with a little olive oil until tender but not browned, around 10 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the greens in water just sufficient to cover. Maintain a moderate simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes — until the stems are cooked but still slightly crunchy. Drain and return to the pot. (If you want you can reserve the cooking liquid to make broth for another use. Otherwise, discard it.) Mix in the sautéed onions and garlic, season to taste with balsamic vinegar, fish sauce and hot sauce. Mix in half the chopped almonds.
To serve, mound in a shallow bowl and top with the remaining chopped almonds.
I am drooling as I post this!
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