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Bright Ideas

The world's most hated weeds

 


I bought calendars late in December for my husband and a friend featuring hot peppers. What would I get for myself? I decided on herbs, assuming they would be familiar herbs we grow outside our back door.

Some were: rosemary, sage, chives, oregano, thyme, and garlic. Some of these have appeared, but I was surprised by others. The month of April featured dandelions. My grandmother collected tender leaves from first dandelions of the season. Of course she was teased mercilessly, but that didn’t phase her.

The recipe the calendar included was called Horta, “This classic dish is enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean. It generally consists of the dandelion greens and other common garden greens. Of course it goes without saying: Don’t eat anything you can’t positively identify.”

“Saute 1 large onion in olive oil until translucent and golden. Add 3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add 2-3 cups of mixed wild greens (dandelion, purslane, amaranth, nettles, and others) cover, stirring occasionally, and steam until tender. Season simply with a little more olive oil, salt, and pepper, and serve with feta. Delicious and satisfying.”

I think I’d want vinegar too. I may just try the dish, since we grow 3/4 acre of the plant with bright yellow blossoms. Little kids pick them for mothers and grandmothers. Goldfinches and yellow warblers arrive when blooms cover the ground.

My husband tries to mow the dandelions before seed heads form. He gets most, but not all.

In May, the calendar features burdock. That’s right, “natures velcro.” Would ranchers rip that picture off the calendar? The picture just shows a small wooden bowl filled with spikey balls where purple flowers burst through. Seems harmless enough, but looks can be deceiving.

They note that burdock roots are very nutritious. Who would have guessed burdock was good for anything?

 

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