Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wild Edibles III

Greenbriar

The GREENBRIAR is a vine that many consider invasive, but for those who appreciate their medicinal and nutritional values, will find them edible as raw, or cooked as spinach (leaves) and asparagus (stems.) The best thing about this plant is that it can be found plentious year-round. The Native Americans valued this plant. 
Sow Thistle
 SOW THISTLE was brought over by the Europeans as a garden vegetable. This plant is widely confused with the Dandelion as they look similar in appearance. I have on many occasions confused both the Sow Thistle and Dandelion as being the same. The difference is that the Sow Thistle has several vining flowers, as well as a green stem that leds to the flower. The Sow Thistle is rich in vitamin A, C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Phosphorus, and Iron.
Sow Thistle
*Harvesting the roots of both the Sow Thistle and Dandelion can be used as a coffee substitute. Another amazing benefit of the Sow Thistle (fast becoming one of my fav wild edibles) is that the white sap has an opiate-like effect and can be used as a pain reliever.

Unlike the Dandelions that prefer a watered lawn, the Sow Thistle will thrive under drier conditions. I have noticed since we've mowed our lawn that this "weed" is popping up throughout my yard, towering above my freshly mowed grass. Yesterday, I took a bucket and picked all the Sow Thistles I could find and gave them to my chickens. Now that I've learned the value of this European garden vegetable, I'll be finding ways to add this to my family's menu. What a gold mine I have growing in my yard!  (Stay tuned for part 4 of Wild Edibles.)

2 comments:

Pat aka Posh said...

I probably mentioned it before.. but as a kid growing up on a farm.. spring time was time to pick greens of all kinds.. we all looked forward to having fresh green foods added to the table because back then you couldn't run to the store and buy lettuce, fresh turnip, mustard, collard or spinach greens to cook like you can these days... poke greens are still one of my favorites, add in a bit of lambs quarter and you have one delicious meal especially with a pan of cornbread. yum!

Helen Ruth said...

Do you remember any winter greens?