After days of information about dandelions and their ‘fake cousins’ it is time to try out these weeds in an edible concoction. This blog posting presents a simple recipe for my first ever meal, which is based on a selection of weed plants that are not dandelions but have similar yellow flowers.
The process started when I wandered past my neighbours garden edges and my own lawn and dug up cat’s ears
and two varieties of sowsthistle/milkthistle; Sonchus Hydrophilus and Sonchus oleraceus. The next two photos are by Greg Jordan. First photo is Sonchus hydrophilus and the second is Sonchus oleraceus.
With the leaves mixed together, I took the following photos of a selection of my pickings.
Such fresh yummy looking leaves!
Inside the house, on my white kitchen bench, clearly the collection of plants were alive with tiny critters. After washing and carefully rubbing every leaf, root and stem surface then returning each plant back onto the bench, tiny black and green dots and larger living creatures continued to emerge.
At a certain point I believed that I could never remove them all and thought any remainders would add protein to my meal. Overnight these plants were plastic wrapped in a bowl so they wouldn’t dry out and left to sit with the hope that the small animal and insect world would either settle at the bottom or be prepared to leave as soon as I lifted the plastic.
What did I do?
I removed the leaves from the sowsthistle and cat’s ears and chopped them roughly, then sliced a brown onion, a medium potato and some sweet potato.
The latter I added to some heated vegetable stock and simmered for 10 minutes before adding a sliced stick of fresh celery and dribbling fish sauce across the bubbling pot of ingredients.
Time for the weeds; in they went and simmered for another 10 minutes. Off the stove, I poured the soup into a blender and churned until the greens were reasonably fine but still apparent. So the recipe was simple. I had planned to add chopped parsley but completely forgot.
What did it taste like?
The texture was comfort-food thick with the breakdown of the potatoes, the flavour was suitably salty from the celery and fish sauce, and the slightest super slightness of bitterness from the greens balanced out the flavour. Interestingly, despite 10 minutes of simmering, parts of these weeds hadn’t lost their integrity even after blending. There were little somethings to chew; juicy remains. Better than pleasant. Lip smacklingly delicious! And I am still standing. I suffered no after effect except a wonderful feeling of fullness. Nothing wrong with that!
If I dine with you, can we eat some dandelion or look-alike weeds please? Send your recipes to me at email@example.com.
And – should we toss out the idea that everything we don’t want, that grows in our lawns, are weeds, and now cultivate these plants for our dinners?
In finishing this long saga on dandelions and their look-alikes, I will leave you with my photo of the genuine common dandelion’s leaves (from a neighbour’s garden) with their pointed tooth directed towards the centre of the plant.