With the heat comes hot and spicy and that’s what we have for you with this week’s share: peppergrass and garlic flowers! Hotcha!! Also a green from south and central America that tends to appear when the land is hot and dry: amaranth. A bit more bitter than lambs quarters, but used similarly. You may know amaranth for it’s seeds but today we will enjoy its nutritious green leaves.
We were out there for many hours over many days in many parks hunting for mushrooms but it was so dry that we came up dry. But with the past couple days of rain we are hoping to be luckier next week! We do have a great share for you this week, though, which includes:
- Wild Garlic Flowers (or maybe they were volunteers, either way they are delicious!) *NEW
- Amaranth Greens *NEW
- Peppergrass *NEW
- Lambs Quarters
- Staghorn Sumac
- Yellow Dock Seed
It has been HOT and DRY in Western PA! Amaranth Greens are a wonderful little plant from Central and South America which offers vibrant greens during desert drought…a time when most spring greens are done and the heat has turned what’s left tough and bitter, that’s when to find Amaranth.
You may recognize Amaranth as a grain (gluten-free grain) which is known for having lots of nutrition and protein. Indeed this is true and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be able to collect enough seeds to add those to your share. Right now though the green is what you want, bright and green while most other greens are wilted and gone. (Gone are the days of too many nettles, too much chickweed, an overflow of garlic mustard…*sigh*).
Some people call this wild edible “pigweed” (though some refer to Lambs quarters as “pigweed”, so that can be tricky. Use it just as you would use Lambs Quarters, though, which is to say just as you would use spinach, kale, chard, or any green like that.
What a find these garlic flowers were! On my friend’s property in Gibsonia, out back behind her compost heap, there we were, Dave and I, hungrily surveying her field of garlic. “You can have them,” she said from behind us, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! Cutting the garlic flower off at this point actually helps the bulb (root) get bigger, so maybe in a few weeks we’ll go back for those! But for now you can use these garlic flowers (which look a lot like garlic bulbs) in soups or stir-fries. They are very garlicky! Enjoy!
The peppergrass is very spicy, give it a little nibble. I usually eat the seed pods but you can also eat the leaves. You probably just want to use a little of this to season/add zing to a soup or salad. You can also dry it and use it as a dried spice.
The staghorn sumac has been awesome! We’ve been filling a pitcher (or large jar) with water, putting the sumac blossoms in (just as is…we’ll give them a quick rinse and pop them in the water), cover, put the water in the fridge and you’ll have tart delicious water that is full of vitamin C and refreshment (especially on a hot hot day). Make sure not to let these gorgeous red clusters go unused…they really are great. I haven’t been sweetening my drink, but Ella has been putting a dash of maple syrup into hers. You can keep adding water to top it off and in the fridge it will keep for quite a few days.
To make a stronger/faster brew: cover sumac with cold water in a large jar, put the cap on, place in the sun for a couple hours (making “sun tea”), then refrigerate. Enjoy when nice and cold. Yum!
Your share still contains plenty of the succulent, omega-3-rich purslane, which of course is awesome. The stalks are getting somewhat thick and tough on some of these, though, so if you are using for salad you may want to pull the leaves off and compost the stalks. Or maybe they make a great grilled veg, stalks and all - experiment! (and let me know - we have no grill!)
Lambs Quarters is still and will always be delicious. Again, the stalk is getting thick, I have been using the leaves only at this point. I’ve been putting them in smoothies, salads, and chopping them into just about every cooked thing I make. The other day I made this gluten-free zucchini lasagna. For the filling I crumbled tofu (in place of ricotta), added chopped onions, chopped lambs quarters, dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried basil and salt. See? It goes everywhere!
If you are a bread baker I hope you are adding at least a little yellow dock seed to your bread, just because. (Because you have it and it’s full of protein and nutrients!) I add it to biscuits. I made some zucchini bread and I forgot to add it but when I make it again I will add some so the mish mash of gluten-free flours in the batter: I grind buckwheat, millet, g-f oats, chickpeas, etc. all into flour in place of wheat flour. I do this in my vitamix, but you can also use a coffee grinder. And remember to try the delicious onion and cheese biscuits!
You can also put it into oatmeal. Here’s a great recipe for gluten-free whole grain oatmeal: (amounts vary by how much you want to make/how many people you have eating!)
Overnight: Soak 1/4 cup Quinoa and 1/4 cup Millet (and/or brown rice or forbidden black rice - yum!)
In the morning:
Add rinsed soaked quinoa, millet and rice to 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats.
Add any wild seeds such as plantain, yellow dock, amaranth.
Optional: Add sweet fruits and dried fruits like banana, raisins, goji berries. I like to cook these right in. After it’s done cooking I add fresh fruit like grated apple or chopped peaches.
Cover with water plus about 2 inches more water.
Bring to boil, turn to simmer and stir so bottom does not burn. You may add more water as necessary when cooking. I like mine with lots of water cooked a long time (the grains will thicken even if you add lots of water, just be patient and cook it long enough.) It should be done in 20 minutes but I will cook mine longer.
Serve with maple syrup and milk (can use vegan milk like cashew milk.) If I’ve added bananas, raisins and goji berries I usually do NOT add maple syrup because it will taste very sweet to me already.
We got the idea for this recipe after eating a very delicious whole grain oatmeal at The Teahouse in Santa Fe. Here is their recipe…they have since replaced the wheat berries with millet to make it gluten-free. You’ll see that we have adapted the recipe a bit. But I can’t wait to get my hands on some forbidden rice to try it with that! It was so good in Santa Fe.
Enjoy your share, stay cool, and I hope you are doing fun and amazing things with all your fun and amazing new foods!!