Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eating Wild

by Olivia Starke

One of the things I look forward to the most each spring is picking wild greens and hunting mushrooms (the edible kind, not the psychedelic kind.) Today I thought I’d share with you some of my family favorites in the wild green category which are readily available here in southern Missouri. If you’re feeling so brave, you might want to give these ‘weeds’ a try! BUT only pick from areas you know don’t have herbicides or pesticides so you don’t get sick, and always wash them thoroughly.

The best and easiest to find for the greens novice. This lawn and sidewalk nuisance is actually pretty darn tasty. Dandelion is best when picked while young and the leaves are small. I personally like this mixed with other greens since it’s pretty bitter. The older they get the more bitter they become. Good fresh or cooked.

Lamb’s Quarter is one of my favorites! It’s great sautéed or eaten fresh, and isn’t super-bitter.

Poke is NOT recommended for the novice! It’s actually poisonous if not picked at the right stage and prepared properly with repeated boiling and draining. It’s a green that HAS to be cooked in the right way. We pick this when it’s just up and we also like the young stalks fried. This is my favorite green though, and I try to add it to other greens whenever I can, or eat it by itself. Despite the pain it is to prepare, it holds a nice flavor. Young tender stalks can be rolled in flour and cornmeal and have a mild okra flavor (the stalks must be prepared correctly too.)

There you have it, my top 3 wild greens pick, though wild mustard and sour dock are two more additions to our seasonal skillet. These are part of many meals throughout spring and summer for my family.

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