Week of December 9, 2014 - Weed Walk: Bedstraw, Sheep Sorrel and more

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 5:30 PM | Anonymous

Weed Walk

Only the hardiest greens are to be found in early December in the Catskills. Days are too short to fuel growth, but they hunker down and toughen up, and enjoy the sun that there is. It is always wise to harvest with care and respect for the plant’s needs as well as for your human needs, and especially so in the short winter days when plants can’t replenish themselves. No need to pick enough to make an entire wild salad. Even adding a few wild leaves to ordinary lettuce counts as wild.

Dandelion (Taraxacum off.)
Did I say hunker down? Well, I obviously wasn’t referring to dandelion, who continues to bloom right up until she is “covered in a mantle of white.” Dandelion flowers in my salad certainly raise my spirits and give my liver lots to smile about as well.

Bedstraw (Galium mollugo)
This prolific roadside plant is most known for its use in making sweet-smelling mattresses. The tender tips are a great winter salad green. It is also known as wild madder and false baby’s breath, the first because of its reddish-orange roots, the latter for its beautiful clusters of delicate white flowers. Cleavers is another plant in the bedstraw family, so closely related to wild madder.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Tart and tangy sheep sorrel is always ready to add lots of vitamin C to our salads, ensuring a healthy winter and freedom from colds and the flu. Look for sheep sorrel in rocky, sunny places.

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