Sunday Salad Report
From the garden today: Dandelion greens, bittercress, chickweed, a bit of fennel. I have always liked the taste of bittercress, but never used it as a salad green until I learned that there is no such thing as the salad police. Nobody will come to arrest me if I just pinch the roots off the bottom and chuck the rest of the plant in there whole rather than breaking it down and discarding the central stem, remaining roots, etc. Quite a load off my mind and completely changes the effort:reward ratio.
There was also plenty of henbit (Lamium mumblety-something, might’ve been purple deadnettle), which I nibbled thoughtfully but otherwise did not eat. I still haven’t figured out why anyone bothers with henbit except as a famine food.
The very beginning of spring is a nice time for dandelions – the young plants have tender greens, and the overwintered plants still have fat roots. I dug up a pan full of roots, cleaned them, and promptly burned them to a crisp. Lesson learned: The time to take the dandelion roots out of the oven is before you notice that the whole house smells amazing. The final stages happen very quickly. There are more dandelions, but not conveniently in the garden beds; really, I can probably wait until fall. I think the dandelion brown ale concept that’s tingling in my brain will benefit from a little more experience homebrewing with normal ingredients, anyway. (I’m only on my second-ever batch of beer and still have some technique to work out.)
Continuing my halfhearted gesture at taming the backyard invasive species slugfest, I ripped up some English ivy. I stripped the leaves from the vines using the backscratcher the Mr. made me several years ago as a learning-to-weld project – it’s a bunch of thick wires welded together in a sort of fan shape. All it needs is a thicker handle, the better to grasp between my knees, and it’s the perfect vine-stripping tool. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with the stuff, having never made a proper basket before, but all the cool kids are making bike baskets.