Eating our backyard weeds

We put purple dead nettle and onion grass in our salad.

Purple Dead Nettle
Onion grass

Did you know that plants in the mint family have square stems? Purple dead nettle is part of the mint family. It makes for easy identifying. Plus there’s no toxic twin, so it’s fairly safe for foraging newbies like us.

A square stem

We only forage from our backyard. We don’t use chemicals so we know they are safe.

A friend of ours eats all of the nettle except for the root, but we only used the leaves and tips. We only used the blades of the onion grass. This was simply our preference this time. We may use the stems of the nettle and the root bulbs of the grass next time. Whatever parts we don’t use goes in our compost bucket.

We soaked the greens in a tub of water to clean them. They looked clean on the surface so I didn’t feel that a simple rinse would be good enough. There wasn’t a lot of dirt but you just never know. We have a cat that has to pee somewhere, you know what I mean…..

Then a quick chop and in they went into our salad.

You would not believe the flavor of these greens. Wow!! You know how much better home grown food taste than the store bought stuff. We could not believe how fresh and powerful the taste and smell of these plants were. It was wonderful.

I’m looking forward to foraging dandelion and plantain too.

How do you feel about foraging? Is it a yay or a nay for you and your family?

Hippocrates said it

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates

Since we are under COVID19 quarantine, I though it may be a good time to talk about food as prevention. I love the quote by Hippocrates because it’s simple and true. The simple truth. Can’t get much better than the simple truth.

There are three foods in particular that I wanted to talk about – garlic, onions, and mushrooms.

These foods are simple to add to virtually anything that is cooked. Well, except maybe boiled eggs. Although you could certainly put them with the eggs. Any soup, stews, stir frys, tacos, omelettes (speaking of eggs), anything cooked. My secret, especially with the garlic and mushrooms is to mince them. That means to cut them up into very small pieces. If you’ve ever had a bite of pure garlic, you’ll know why very small is key. And if you are like me and don’t particularly dig mushrooms, very small is key here too.

Here’s the health benefits

Garlic – It’s good for your heart. It lowers cholesterol and lowers high blood pressure.
It has cancer fighting characteristics.
It’s a natural antibiotic.

Onions – They are nutrient dense. High in Vitamin C and high in B Vitamins.
They fight inflammation.
They also lower cholesterol and lower high blood pressure.
They are loaded with antioxidants.
Like garlic, onions have cancer fighting compounds.
They help reduce high blood sugar.
They boost bone density.

Mushrooms – Ancient civilizations worldwide have used mushrooms for their healing properties for thousands of years.
They have immune boosting benefits.
They help prevent respiratory infections.
They boost longevity.

There’s as many benefits as there are ways to use these ingredients.

The way I normally use them is to lightly saute them first, then I can add them to the rest of the ingredients, or vice versa.

By mincing them (except onions. I don’t mince onions but I do chop them fairly small) it’s very easy to not even know they are in the dish. And the flavor boost cannot be beaten.

I’ve been cooking with these so long that I’m not sure I would enjoy my cooking without these flavors.

I could probably write a book about garlic, onions, and mushrooms. In fact, there are probably books written about these precious foods. But I will stop for now.

Tell me, do you cook? If so, do you use these ingredients often?