"You have some lovely dandelions," said my mother. "Yes," I thought, "the yard is full of them." "So, do you mind if I pick some for lunch?"
"Ummm, sure..." Have all the weeds you want. Weirdo.
But I think Mom would be proud of me now. I've discovered the joys of harvesting wild greens in my own backyard.
Chewing it over
Since I got braces, I can't indulge in my usual crunchy carrots, apples, or even a basic lettuce salad. I believe that food is best eaten in its natural state, but I've had to compromise on this one.
I got apple back on the menu in the mornings by processing a couple with a soft banana and eating the result like a lumpy pudding. That way, I still get the fiber as well as the juice. And then I remembered green smoothies.
I can eat so much bitter raw nutritious green stuff, with pleasure, combined with sweet fruit like apples, bananas, and oranges. I used storebought cabbage and garden kale and parsley. And when those started to run out, I looked outside the garden box and saw those lovely dandelions. Thanks Mom!
I can harvest a couple of cups full of dandelion greens any morning I choose - easily equal to a package of greens from the store. And I finally remembered I have mint growing wild in the backyard. It's not just good for free tea, it's a nutritious yummy green leaf.
As our local vegan nutrition expert said in our last Vegan 101 class, the biggest problem with greens in your diet...is eating them.
More wild greens
Resources for learning about gathering wild greens are as common as weeds - there's even one for New Zealand. Hey, we've got puwha growing in the shady spots!
Would you ever gather your backyard bounty?