What if your entire yard was planted with salad greens? And all you had to do was walk outside and pick a bowl whenever you liked?
It seems like that’s the case in my yard. I have recently discovered that most of the “weeds” in my yard are actually edible, and surprisingly tasty. So I've been making yard salad.
In just a few minutes, here’s what I was able to harvest: dandelions, wild violets, creeping Charlie, wood sorrel, mugwort, lambs quarters, garlic mustard, grape leaves, purslane, and plantain seeds.
After I picked the weeds for my yard salad this afternoon, I looked in the refrigerator and found a plastic container of organic arugula, which I added to the mix. The label said it came from California. I imagined seeds being planted in a field, tended, watered, fertilized, hopefully not sprayed, picked, apparently washed three times, dried and stuffed into a plastic box, sealed up, loaded into a refrigerated truck, driven thousands of miles to Ohio, unloaded at the grocery store, set inside a well-lit produce bin, tossed into a shopping cart, zapped with a laser beam at the checkout counter, packed into a plastic bag and driven down the road to end up in my refrigerator.
That’s a lot of action for 4 ounces of arugula.
Sharing a bowl with them, their foraged neighbors were not so coddled or well-traveled. The yard greens had been planted by Nature, and certainly not tended, fertilized or sprayed. They had to depend on rain for their water.
Until I picked them, they lived outside in the yard. The only washing they got was a quick rinse in the colander.. After being chopped and splashed with olive oil and vinegar, all of these greens tasted great, but the yard weeds apparently have the nutritional edge. According to the multitude of websites on the subject of foraging and eating weeds, wild munchies have all sorts of benefits not found in their cultivated cousins.
Bur for me, the best reason for making a yard salad is to be reminded that there really is a free lunch. Thanks for lunch, Weeds!