Harborne & Edgbaston

Those pesky weeds

Those pesky weeds – Some make real good eating!

Just now, several so-called weeds are at their best to eat: wild garlic (‘ramsons,’ by another name) are doing £3.15 per 100grams of leaves. Even that is rather a lot: you don’t need more than a few leaves to spice up your meals, as it’s very strong. It’s one of our favourite springtime ingredients for soups or pestos or perhaps added to a cheese sandwich (lots of recipes on the Internet). Another edible weed is nettles, or rather the young topmost leaves. Do use gloves when you go picking. The sting disappears when the leaves are covered in boiling water. Good in soup, or mashed with boiled potato. If foraging for wild garlic or nettle tops in a nearby copse isn’t possible, having some in your garden in an old bucket with a few holes in the bottom to prevent it from getting water logged, makes harvesting young leaves a breeze. These weeds you would of course not like in your lawn. Hoever, some others spruce up a lawn no end. Daisies and dandelions to give an example. Daisy petals can be used in salads, but you need a lot of patience to pick enough. Dandelions is another matter. Some people pick the flowers, dip them in a batter and fry them – I am told they taste of honey, but it seems a lot of work. Dandelion leaves though are becoming a staple in our house, boiled in soups or stew. Italians grow dandelions especially for their salads. But beware – don’t eat large amounts of boiled dandelion leaves as your veg: at one of the garden group meetings we were told that a popular French name for dandelion is ‘pissenlit’; it’s a diuretic, which makes you go to the loo.