The 3 Week Diet

Wildflowers of North America: Wild Salads

Gathering greens in the wild is perhaps as foolhardy as gathering mushrooms if you aren’t 100% sure of yourself, or helping out an expert. I would never, ever, not in a hundred years, or a thousand, a million even, suggest anyone grab a sack and had out into the woods and help themselves to nature’s salad bar. I would however… in fact, I am telling you that there are many, many edible plants out there, in the woods, along fencerows and old railroad embankments, in prairies and wetlands and bogs and in the backyard, which not only provide the gatherer a wonderfully organic meal, it fills a person with a real sense of being a part of the earth, of knowing it, of understanding it, of partaking of it… with a bit of reverence, I hope.

But again, I stress the point, don’t even think about trying to gather any wild food unless you’ve been taught, and even then keep in mind the story of Alex, a young man who thought he knew better, and mistook a type of berry for something edible. He starved to death as a consequence, the berries’ toxicity working in such a way as to prevent the important stuff from any food from being absorbed into his system. It’s the sad conclusion to a true story, and you can read it in Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer.

And now that I’ve sobered you up, even before your first drink, let’s consider salads in the wild, shall we?

Nature is a supermarket of edible greens

The list of plants that provides us these fresh greens for our salads is full of familiar “weeds,” and perhaps some that are not so familiar. Young dandelion leaves, as well the young buds, before they open, are a tasty, backyard addition to your salad. Young chicory leaves are likewise a nice addition to salads. We all know those two.

WatercressThe young leaves of other “weedy” species, which can be tossed with your salad, include Lamb’s-quarters, Watercress, Winter-cress, mustard, Bull Thistle, Sow Thistle, Miner’s Lettuce, dock, and Sheep and Mountain Sorrel. Everything nobody wants growing in their backyard, huh, and isn’t that unfortunate?
Mountain Sorrel, which is also knownas scurvy greens, sour grass, and alpine sorrel, tastes a bit like rhubarb. The young leaves can also be served as a cooked vegetable, or in soups. Sheep Sorrel can also be used in soups, as well as the salad bowl.

Dock, Sow Thistle, Bull Thistle, Winter-cress, Watercress, chicory, and dandelions can all be served as a cooked vegetable. Some require several changes of water, particularly when older leaves are used, but I would stay away from those. They tend to be bitter, bitter, bitter.

Other parts of these plants can be used in other ways, and the roots of a few other plants can be used in salads rather than their leaves; Indian Cucumber-root is one such example. Its tuberous rootstock, thinly sliced, is a nice addition to a salad. That same rootstock can be served as a cooked vegetable.

And that’s just the start…

Samet Bilir writes about technology trends, digital camera reviews, and photography, such as best superzoom camera and Hoodman lens cleanse. To read more articles from him visit his website at chi-photography.com.t;” src=”http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/DandelionFlower.jpg/220px-DandelionFlower.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”176″ />Gathering greens in the wild is perhaps as foolhardy as gathering mushrooms if you aren’t 100% sure of yourself, or helping out an expert. I would never, ever, not in a hundred years, or a thousand, a million even, suggest anyone grab a sack and had out into the woods and help themselves to nature’s salad bar. I would however… in fact, I am telling you that there are many, many edible plants out there, in the woods, along fencerows and old railroad embankments, in prairies and wetlands and bogs and in the backyard, which not only provide the gatherer a wonderfully organic meal, it fills a person with a real sense of being a part of the earth, of knowing it, of understanding it, of partaking of it… with a bit of reverence, I hope.

But again, I stress the point, don’t even think about trying to gather any wild food unless you’ve been taught, and even then keep in mind the story of Alex, a young man who thought he knew better, and mistook a type of berry for something edible. He starved to death as a consequence, the berries’ toxicity working in such a way as to prevent the important stuff from any food from being absorbed into his system. It’s the sad conclusion to a true story, and you can read it in Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer.

And now that I’ve sobered you up, even before your first drink, let’s consider salads in the wild, shall we?

Nature is a supermarket of edible greens

The list of plants that provides us these fresh greens for our salads is full of familiar “weeds,” and perhaps some that are not so familiar. Young dandelion leaves, as well the young buds, before they open, are a tasty, backyard addition to your salad. Young chicory leaves are likewise a nice addition to salads. We all know those two.

WatercressThe young leaves of other “weedy” species, which can be tossed with your salad, include Lamb’s-quarters, Watercress, Winter-cress, mustard, Bull Thistle, Sow Thistle, Miner’s Lettuce, dock, and Sheep and Mountain Sorrel. Everything nobody wants growing in their backyard, huh, and isn’t that unfortunate?

Mountain Sorrel, which is also knownas scurvy greens, sour grass, and alpine sorrel, tastes a bit like rhubarb. The young leaves can also be served as a cooked vegetable, or in soups. Sheep Sorrel can also be used in soups, as well as the salad bowl.

Dock, Sow Thistle, Bull Thistle, Winter-cress, Watercress, chicory, and dandelions can all be served as a cooked vegetable. Some require several changes of water, particularly when older leaves are used, but I would stay away from those. They tend to be bitter, bitter, bitter.

Other parts of these plants can be used in other ways, and the roots of a few other plants can be used in salads rather than their leaves; Indian Cucumber-root is one such example. Its tuberous rootstock, thinly sliced, is a nice addition to a salad. That same rootstock can be served as a cooked vegetable.

And that’s just the start…

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