Eat your Weeds – Foraging
I am a Naturopath so I am meant to be weird, sort of like a journalistic licence, I am more weird than most of the Naturopaths that I know because I actually worship and follow science. Prove it or remove it was my catch cry for many years, long before I completed my Masters Degree in Clinical Science -Lifestyle Medicine at Southern Cross University. I only stopped using it because it was seen as an incivility and any incivility attracts a negative response.
The Best Food Is Poisoned
Councils and other bodies spend a fortune poisoning weeds that are edible and highly nutritious because they often are prolific seeders and get out of control in our bushland, roadsides and sometimes even cracks in footpaths. When our English forebears came to Australia they were often able to survive harsh economic times by wild foraging. Eating salads made from Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale), Water Cress (Nasturtium official) closely related to mustard, wasabi, radish it is a member (currently) of the brassicaceae family and is one of the oldest leaf plants eaten by humans, Amaranth (Amaranthus species),Ceylon Spinach (Basella alba and B. rubra), Kan Kong (Ipomea aquatica), Purple Orach (Atriplex bortensis), Sorrell (Rumex acetosa), Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), Purslane (Portulaca oleracea).
Wild Artichoke is another garden plant that has now gone wild in Australia and it has been declared a weed in every state. Wild artichoke is an ugly, prickly bush but it is a delicacy to eat according to Riccardo Momesso owner chef at Valentino – A Calabrian Kitchen and author of ‘Antonio and Lucia’ a fusion of Calabrian and Australian food. In Riccardo’s excellent book he gives a recipe for artichokes gathered from a field trip foraging and shows how to make a delicacy from wild artichoke Calabrian/Australian style.
Farmers Are Altering Nature
Our vegetables and fruit have become sweeter over time as farmers and the big supermarkets push growers to grow a more marketable product to increase their sales, health is never a consideration it is always just the bottom line (profit). Bitter herbs and vegetables offer a lot of nutritional benefits for health, and reducing sugar alone is a health benefit. In 1968 the Cretins were the longest lived people on earth they lost this title to Okinawa at the end of ’68. I watched a documentary on Crete in early 1971, it was all about how healthy they were, what they ate and how they foraged for it. The documentary team was taken on a foraging trip around the cliffs where they gathered wild vegetables and herbs. One of these herbs was purslane and the cretins claimed they used it in salads, raw and they also cooked it as a vegetable, They claimed it was largely responsible for their great health, I looked from 1971 to 2012 at every farmers market and no-one knew what I was talking about. Finally at Pambula Market I found purslane. Now purslane is growing everywhere around Eden, I bought sheep/cow and horse manure for my vegetable garden and it was full of seeds, purslane appeared everywhere, birds must be carrying it as well because it is distributed all around the town where there are no gardens. I find it very edible particularly later in the morning after the sun has converted the malic acid to plant sugar. Your body makes malic acid in converting carbohydrates to energy and it is in wine and anti-aging creams (skincare) so it is good for you. Purslane has more omega 3 fatty acids than a lot of fish and in general agricultural researchers find it is a very nutritious food plant and may have a big role to play in future food production http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/951019/
Know Your Poisonous Weeds
In our area ‘ The Sapphire Coast’ of Australia we have some very nasty, poisonous plants, one famous plant Hemlock grows all down this coast. Hemlock was used to kill Socrates, Plato allegedly gives an account of his death. At Kiah this plant Conium maculatum or commonly called Carrot Fern is in full bloom.
Join the village and comment
All comments are moderated before they are accepted.