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ivica

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Weeds and wild-growing plants
« on: September 20, 2015, 01:31:45 PM »
Growing weeds is easy, basicaly you keep mower off that area ;)

Weeds? Best food I ate from the garden this year was Common Purslane (delicious and very healthy). 2nd best was Amaranth leaves. For past 6 years I weeded these "weeds".
By not weeding at all everything else did way better. My hypothesis after research is that this was because I didn't need to water as often as there was much less evaporation. By watering less often the root system was more stable (root ends die back when flooded and too dry).

Common Purslane is on my "to try" list for a few years already, I knew that Med(iterranean) people use them but I never tried. I see from your profile you are from Greece, I see no many members from Med area here, welcome! And thank you, I will try that next year. Tušt (or portulak) is local name - lat. Portulaca oleracea.

My best "weed" so far is kopriva (common nettle, lat. Urtica dioica), prepared as spinach but tastes better, and with a bit (a 5 %) of narrowleaf plantain, Plantago lanceolata, added even more better :-)

Hopefully, other members will add their experiance.

Neven

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2015, 02:34:39 PM »
Things that grow around our house and that we use for salads etc. are nettle and dandelion. We use achillea millefolium and plantains for tea.

And I didn't even know what it was, but we had a lot of Common Purslane in our garden. I thought it was nice looking plant (when pulling it out), but didn't know ot was the edible stuff I'd occasionally eat as a kid. I'll have to inform my wife.

It's amazing all the different kinds of plants that grow on just 1 m2 of land. You think it's all grass, but when you look closer, you see at least 10 different kinds of 'weed'.
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2015, 03:23:23 PM »
" Eat the Weeds " is a nice site to read up on wild foods and foraging. Pictures and plant descriptions .

http://www.eattheweeds.com/amaranth-grain-vegetable-icon/

ivica

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2015, 03:48:16 PM »
I kept Amaranthus caudatus (local name: Lisičji rep) for a few years in my byd, as ornamental plant only :o. I know better now, thank's to Bruce.

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2015, 04:01:33 PM »
Hi Ivica, thanks. I'm actually Irish, where Japanese Knotweed is growing so rampantly it has it's own eradication budget. It's harvested, eaten and for sale in veg markets in Japan.
I had 2 areas of tomato plants this year. 1 area suffered from black bottoms, an indication of calcium deficiency. Common Purslane was growing under it. One of it's many health benefits is... Calcium. Great also for digestive system, inflammation, dry skin, heart, vitamin A, B, carotin, iron etc
All my local restaurants serve weeds as a listed menu item. Which weed depends on the season.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 04:05:18 PM »
Ivica," Love Lies Bleeding " is a beautiful plant and worth growing even if you don't bother collecting seeds and grinding them for flour. I am not a beer drinker these days but I would love to try and make amaranth beer. The Hopi Red Dye Amaranth makes a beautiful red tincture but it looses it's color if it is heated. Too bad , red beer sounds kinda fun.
 Does the Croatian word Lisicji have a meaning that translates into English?   

ivica

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 04:27:48 PM »
OrganicSu,
So, Japanese Knotweed is the name of the plant I had for 1 one year and (after I saw how that plants 'behaves' in a certain area of my city) had to have a couple of years of efforts to eradicate it (cutting roots and pulling out a sprout as soon as I see it) ;D

Bruce,
Lisičji rep == foxtail
BTW: my space is limited and foxtail seems too invasive/agressive, I prefer sunflowers as ornamental plant - slugs, snails, bees, bumble bees, sparrows & finches all agree with it ;)
EDIT: I forgot bumble bees, some of them work on a sunflower till sunset, spend night there & continue on sunrise - amasing.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 09:24:58 AM by ivica »

ivica

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 06:54:59 PM »
Neven,
dandelion seems to be in decline in byd, so my daughter and I took preemptive measure:
collect  before & spread seeds after rain over molehills and other bare ground. We did some jumping on it also :) Hopefully we will see more dandelions next year(s).
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 07:01:18 PM by ivica »

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 05:54:41 PM »
From Clare "My DH gagged at the mention of purslane = 'postelein' in Holland. Said they had it too often as a kid & it was slimy." 
Purslane is a bit slimy, but I love it. My wife is Japanese and I became addicted to 'nato' which is also slimy. As I can't get 'nato' here purslane is really a godsend.

Re Japanese Knotweed - I would not recommend planting it but surely a better solution in Ireland would be if everyone ate it rather than spraying the countryside with tons of pesticide.

citrine

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2015, 09:08:49 PM »
I tried lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) this spring and it was very good. It is a relative of spinach and has a similar nutritional profile (which is exceptionally good). The plan's one  drawback is that it is very high in oxalic acid.
near Raleigh, North Carolina / USDA Zone 7b

silkman

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 03:07:59 PM »
Up here in NW England rocket is a staple but our favourite is wild garlic. We have a shady border at the end of our garden where it competes very effectively with the bluebells. The young leaves are delicious in early spring and we also make wild garlic pesto which is great with goats cheese.

Add a few wild strawberries in summer and the delicious taste of fresh blackberries in the autumn and it's free hedgerow food that marks out our seasons.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2015, 01:26:01 AM »
It is harvest season here and even in a drought some things seem to thrive. I have always been interested in preparing olives to eat and this year is my first attempt. Like so many other crops available in our mediterranean climate  olive trees are planted as ornamentals around here and again like so many crops they generally fall to the ground rather than being harvested. I found some loaded trees and picked a gallon of black fruit( with permission )sliced each olive twice and started a water leaching process that after 8 days of water changes I will follow with a brine cure. You get a little more appreciation for the work involved in something as common as black olives when you try preparing them yourself . Identifying the multiple varieties may take a better informed source but I can already see a have much to learn.
 I am using a spare room cooled with an air-conditioner( solar powered ) to prepare prosciutto , culatello, and fiocco. I can maintain temperature at a range of 55-65F even with the crazy hot fall we are finishing. We got 100F six out of eight days and so many similar days Aug-Sept-Oct . Very unusual but the solar powered curing room held out without any problems. There is a nice white bloom on the culatello and if the prosciutto turns out like the last one I will be getting a reputation for an artisan skill not easily mastered. Curing fatty pork is an ageless talent and if I can create a curing room with no ff refrigeration it is a skill that can be mastered in many environments other than the traditional Spanish or Italian environs. I will try my hand at curing Brie cheese when I get around to it.
A friend of mine now keeps a herd of goats here on the ranch and he keeps them milked. He is teaching me how to make queso fresca. Brie will be a bigger challenge but the curing room should work I think.
 Still waiting/dreaming of rain.       

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2015, 08:20:27 PM »
Hi Bruce et al,
If you can still get hold of some olives try the following:
Put a container filled with olives on a weighing scale, set to 0. The olives don't need any preparation. Add water close to top and note weight of water. Weight of water/93*7 = weight of salt to add. Tightly seal container and set in cool dark place. Ready to eat after 6 months, will keep for years. Don't worry about the colour of the water. When you want to eat them, put into fresh water and into the fridge. Change water daily for 3 days or more (taste a few daily till you get your desired taste and then don't change the water any more). Keeps in the fridge for 2 to 4 weeks. Beware of jam jars as lids will rust; Plastic bottles would need to be fairly strong quality.

lisa

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2015, 05:58:23 PM »
Just out of curiosity, why is the equation

Weight of water/93*7 = weight of salt to add

and not

Weight of water/651 = weight of salt to add

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 08:17:55 PM »
Ooops. Better to write the equation as (weight of water/93)*7.
7 % salt in the brine solution is what we have found to be the best.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2015, 09:47:17 PM »
OrganicSu, Thanks for clearing that up. I will follow your directions...7% salt brine. The recipe I have says add salt to warmed water until a fresh egg floats so I will check your directions with an egg but I prefer something a bit more precise.

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2015, 06:16:36 AM »
:-) The floating egg trick.
The locals here do the same - prepare a bucket of brine with the egg floating. But what % of the egg is above water is never really clear. So a few years ago I made experiments with 4.5%, 5%...7.5%,8% salt and I found 7% to be best for me. Enjoy.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2015, 09:04:32 PM »
 I have discovered that the olive fruit fly is going to make utilization of olives grown in landscape plantings very problematic. Apparently olive fruit flies showed up here in California in 1998 and have spread across the state since. Commercial plantings utilize insecticides and although there are organic options available they too are largely dependent upon "organically approved insecticides". I am glad I have discovered how prevalent the olive fruit flies are before I started planting olive trees here on the farm. I do not use "organic pesticides" so my only option is a physical barrier like mosquito netting and because some olive trees are self fruiting and others need a pollinator the fruit flies will influence my tree selection options.
 I have four gallons of olives soaking in brine and since the work is already done I will wait the six months necessary to finish the cure before I decide what to do with my compromised product.
Maybe tapenade will suffice. My cousin used to run a corn processing plant and he explained the early crops are processed as frozen corn on the cob, later as the season and worm problems increased the corn was processed as shaved frozen corn and finally at the end of the season everything was creamed corn.         
 

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2015, 06:42:05 AM »
A note to all - Organic farming isn't always safe for the environment. 
Most organic olive farmers in Greece (and we at the beginning) hang bags containing Deltamethrin, a Pyrethroid insecticide, especially toxic in waterways. The only reason the olive oil is "organic" is because the insecticide is separated from the fruit. There are no disposal mechanisms here so it goes out with the normal bins (if the farmer bothers to pick them up). It took me 2 years of hanging and binning these bags, wearing gloves, masks and eye protection before I realised what I was actually doing. We have almost no olive flies anymore - is it the healthier soil, more abundant wildlife and organisms, riding the benefits of all the trees around us being sprayed or just plain luck?

Bruce - the taste of home cured olives is totally different to shop purchased ones and that is not due to the olive fly. If the olive is hard/firm it is good to eat. If it is soft it is good for tapenade. Best time to pick the olives is when they are green, shortly before turning black and you can see which olives have been affected by the fly and can separate them into quality grades. 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2016, 05:36:31 PM »
I discovered a local oak that produces acorns that have very little tannin. They can be eaten without leaching or with a short one day soak. They are called Island Oak and are indigenous to the Calif.Channel Islands. They are planted locally as landscaping and as luck would have it a street in a town nearby planted a whole street with them twenty years ago. We collected a hundred pounds of acorns and I plan on starting a thousand trees this year. I planted about forty two year old White Oak trees and two dozen six foot native palms earlier this summer. I am going to transplant some volunteer walnut trees growing on a highway easement nearby. The wet winter forecast gives new trees a good shot at getting established before we head back into dry conditions sometime later.
 I have been working a couple months at creating enough dry shelter for the piggies. Trying to ditch and guide water away from buildings but I am worried with enough water I will have some problems.
I planted out several acres into cover crop on my place and a couple neighbors places. The cover in the fields is germinated already and should help save topsoil in the intense rain that will show up soon.
 So the Island Oaks and Chilean Wine Palms should give me something to dink around with in the greenhouse this winter. It is getting time to start onions and early garden starts but I think the mud is going to forestall early garden attempts this year.
 Happy gardening everyone !

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 06:37:26 PM »
Sweet coincidence. Planted 15 broad leaf oaks today - hoping to cover a bare, rocky, south facing slope so that more vulnerable plants would have a chance in a few years. All 15 acorns germinated in the fridge after 1 month.

Have been picking up loads of other wild seeds for ground cover next summer.

Weeds will water your land when the dew point allows droplets to form. I have areas dry with cracked soil and areas wet only meters apart. Defining difference is whether weeds are covering the land and collecting dew. No rain for past 7 weeks even though now is the rainy season, making these weeds very valuable.

OrganicSu

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2016, 12:59:34 PM »
Recent wild plant additions to my diet in order of preference:
Muscari comosum (Tassel Hyacinth) - boil the bulb and soak in vinegar and oil for a week or more. Split a bulb in half with your loved one. The two halves of the bulb try to reconnect if you know what I mean...
Borago officinalis (Borage) - leaves and flowers added to salads, soups or make a tea.
Malva sylvestris (Mallow) - leaves and flowers added to soups or make a tea

idunno

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2016, 09:27:46 AM »
I am slightly reluctant to recommend foraged weeds on a non-specialist forum with an international readership, as there are numerous poisonous weeds growing alongside common and delicious varieties, and the flora of the British Isles is different to that of New Zealand, say.

In the Apiaceae family, most prominently...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apiaceae

... there are wild carrots, wild parsley, angelica, fennel, etc. Also, and very difficult to distinguish, unless you are a Botany PhD, there is hemlock, fool's parsley, Satan's parsley, all of which are very poisonous. So be careful.

Secondly, if you have any known strong allergies, be very wary of any foodstuff which is unfamiliar to you.

Third, beware also nutters with sprayguns full of Roundup and other poisons blasting away at everything they can see.

With these caveats, the gathering and consumption of wild plants is a fantastic way to reduce your environmental impact; a huge amount of European salad is now grown in semi-desertified parts of Spain, by irrigation, then exported by road transport via Amsterdam to all over Northern Europe. The export of 97% water from Spain to Wales, say...

Meanwhile, in Wales, the happy shopper is paying up to £20/kg for some "healthy" salad, if they are buying bags of mixed leaves, which are mixed mainly with air, and wrapped in a plastic bag to deliberately maximise the volume of the package transported. At these prices, an average Welsh ditch contains around £5 of salad leaves per metre squared.

In the past, many other plants were used as foods in the British Isles. A Shakespearean-era salad, or sallet, would typically consist of up to 40 commonly-eaten plants.

Here are some...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliaria_petiolata

Garlic mustard has a much stronger taste than "wild" rocket; it is actually closer in taste to the cabbage family. There is no finer possible addition to a sausage sarnie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegopodium_podagraria

Ground elder - IT MUST HAVE A TRIANGULAR STEM CROSS-SECTION - tastes of celery, but much nicer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum

Dandelion makes a very good addition to eggs mayonaisse, say. As the French common name, pis-en-lit, suggests, it is a strong diuretic.

The following link has some extra information for UK readers...

http://www.wildfoodschool.co.uk/urban/wfsURBANGUIDE.pdf

...and an ever-increasing number of other guides, courses, etc, are becoming available.

Also recommended, as they are both clearly not actually trying to sell you summat are the works of this pair...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Culpeper

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Evelyn






be cause

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2016, 10:55:15 AM »
wild watercress is my main 'green' most of the year . This summer-like autumn in N Ireland is yielding monster crops . My sheughs are full !
Bullaces are ready in the local hedgerows .. my favourite jam of the year .
be the cause of only good
and love all beings as you should
and the 'God' of all Creation
will .. through you .. transform all nations :)

idunno

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2016, 05:39:28 PM »
Wild watercress has a problem, if it is gathered from water running below sheep pasture; this because the hollow stems can harbour the ovine liver fluke, which is passable to humans.

There is even EU legislation forbidding the collection of windfall apples from orchards where sheep have been present for I forget how long before the apples are picked up.

Further info on this is available from Professor Google et al.

idunno

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2016, 10:57:26 AM »
The BBC Radio4 food programme last week was devoted entirely to foraging; the main segment being a fascinating - and surely very carbon reducing - attempt to reproduce the tastes used in Oriental curries from plants growing wild in Scotland...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082wwlb#play

idunno

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2016, 09:14:11 AM »
The newish Association of Foragers...

http://www.foragers-association.org.uk/

...is a uk-based international body, with a code of conduct, and a growing membership of professional foragers, several of whom have very informative websites of their own.

johnm33

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Re: Weeds and wild-growing plants
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2016, 02:57:18 PM »
frinstance http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/ wild spices!