Field greens. That's menu talk for what most gardeners categorize as weeds, but these weeds have been harvested gently and are specially decked out to please your palate. Past that, these weeds'll generally run you six to eight dollars a plate.
You know where I'm going with this, right? Since you are already growing your own, it only makes sense to get out there to harvest and serve them yourself.
|Field greens du jour?|
For starters you shouldn't use anything that's been sprayed with chemicals or that's growing close to anything that's been chemically treated. For that reason alone, you should probably stick to your own yard. Tempting as those weed riddled empty lots may be, you'd be foolish to take a chance eating anything unless you talked to the owner and determined the chemical history of that space.
Then there are some basic identification issues. (You know me - there are always identification issues!) The spreading hedge parsley we get is often recommended as good in salads but it looks a lot like and is easily confused with hemlock.
|Torilis arvensis texas, spreading hedge parsley|
But it also looks like parsley, see? Hence the name, spreading hedge parsley.
|This is spreading hedge parsley minus the blooms. (Or maybe it is hemlock..)|
Narrow leaf wood sorrel leaves can be used in salads and sauces for a bit of pungent brightness but you must be aware the stems and leaves
oxalic acid and some people are sensitive. So, not poisonous per se, but use in moderation, yes?
Phew. So you really need to know what it is you are pulling and how much you can safely use. And this is the point where I discovered that a lot of what I was yanking out, christening "prettier than usual" dandelions, aren't, even.
As a matter of fact I'm not one hundred percent clear on what these are, other than entrancing. I can sure enough tell you four or five plants they are not. Including dandelions.
Dandelions occur on rosettes with a stem supporting a singleton bloom. These guys throw up stems with a multitude of tiny blossoms. Pretty, but not dandelions. Very likely edible, but still not dandelions. I think they are some form of Crepis - a Hawksbeard of some type? (anybody who recognizes it feel free to weigh in). In Greece they use a local Hawksbeard raw, boiled, and steamed. Opa!
If I'm right, these too could be used in salads. If I'm wrong, well...(sigh..). Obviously, the only safe way to gather field greens is with a well informed field guide.
Fork to sky: Next time, salad!
*WARNING: As I've taken pains to point out, there are safety issues to be considered when eating gathered wild plants. I'm obviously not an expert and you should in no way rely on what you read here as expert guidance. You guys, I can barely take care of myself, no way I intend to be held responsible for you. We clear? Good!