Free food from the garden

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Photo Image: Getty

At last, I am back to writing something more in line with the original intention of this blog – diary of a country wife. I have become far too taken up with commentary on  TV and other distractions. I can put it down to the spell of wet weather we have been having lately which has seen me take cover indoors, but of course now I am showing myself up for the city girl I really am.

Inbetween the showers I took a peek at what’s happening in the garden. My lovely daffodils have all withered now and I wasn’t organised enough to plant tulips earlier to replace them, so my poor garden is looking very neglected – the more so now that the weeds seem to be taking over. My next job then is to tackle the weeds and get a move on with some more planting. In among the weeds, I have spotted some nettles and then serendipitously ( I love that word) I came across an article in today’s Telegraph newspaper on the very subject.

“Weeds are the ultimate credit-crunch ingredient: abundant, involving little work other than weeding that one would do anyway, and free. They’re also incredibly nutritious” writes Elspeth Thompson.

Wondering though what you actually do with the weeds once they have been released from the soil? Well Elspeth has the answer:

“One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to eat weeds at their freshest is to use them raw in salads” she writes. ” Although it’s possible to serve a salad entirely of weeds, the flavour may be overwhelmingly strong to unaccustomed palates, and I’ve had more success using a sprinkling of weeds (oops – that’s ”wild leaves’’ to visitors) to eke out bags of bought leaves or add a welcome bitter tang to silky soft, home-grown lettuce. Chickweed, clover, daisy (flowers and leaves), dandelion, fat hen, garden orache, ground elder and young goosegrass are among the many common weeds that can be eaten this way, with sorrel, wild garlic, lady’s smock and hairy bittercress providing an even stronger kick. ”

Now, I have no idea how many of the above mentioned are actually in my garden – except for the ubiquitous dandelion and daisy of which I have plenty, but I am sure I can find an online guide and armed with this, I will go investigate and see what I can fin. With a bit of luck my garden may even be lucky enough to sport the wonderful sounding fat hen, lady’s smock or hairy bittercress.

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