Our garden is full of weeds at the moment. White fluffy dandelion clocks fill the fields around us, so the fight to keep the grass green, rather than speckled yellow is a futile one. Last week I paid the children a penny per dandelion to pick them. This week I have decided to try a different tack, we are going to try and eat our weeds!
Dandelions are not our only challenge, nettles also grow here in abundance. The chickens and pigs eat most things, but not the nettles! Clumps of these stingers are dotted around the grounds, proudly declaring their ‘inedible by animals’ status.
I have been reading up about these 2 foraging delights, trying to find out more about what God has provided for us here on our land. I was delighted to read about their multiple health benefits, especially the immune boosting properties of dandelions.
The challenge now was how to convince the family to eat them. Our children vary in how fussy they are, from ‘brown food is preferrable’, to ‘don’t put it in the bin, I’ll eat it!’ I had no doubts that someone would eat what we make, but it would be great to convince them all.
I found a recipe for Dandelion flower cookies, https://www.splendidtable.org/story/2007/05/12/dandelion-flower-cookies and so we decided to have a go.
We all thought they looked much better cooked.
So what did everyone think? The younger children all gave them a thumbs up, and even came back for seconds. My sceptical older children were not keen and their reactions were not altogether polite!
I might make them again, but I think I might try dandelion petals in a muffin next time.
I was clearly on a roll and decided that next I had to try out a nettle recipe. With rubber gloves in hand we picked a few nettles and came in to prepare them. I found a recipe for nettle crisps, which sounded the most child friendly recipe I could think of. You basically wash them, coat them in oil, sprinkle on salt and bake for 20 minutes at 150 c.
I enthusiastically pulled my crispy looking leaves out of the oven and presented them to my less enthusiastic looking family. I tried them, to show them how delicious they were, and I really did like them, but the children were not convinced. Not one of them liked them 🙁. They said they were furry in your mouth and some simply said they were gross! I happily finished the lot. I definitely didn’t feel stung by them, although my mouth did feel a little tingly afterwards, I’m not entirely sure that was supposed to happen?
We had a lovely time foraging, but I think our children need to stop being so picky if we are going to enjoy God’s free bounty growing here. I think I might need to go back to the drawing board for my next foraging outing. Any suggestions?