Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Edible weeds on our land

Acorns! I need to find a good local source and collect some. I want to try making acorn flour.

Last night we attended a class at our local REI where TrackersNW sent a representative to teach a class about edible plants native to the PNW. It was interesting. The guy who gave the presentation defintely showed a passion for the material, but he wasn't the worlds' best public speaker. It was cool though. The presentation he shared with us not only pointed out some poisionous plants, but a TON of edible ones. I was most surprised by what we have growing in our own yard!

I already knew about this one. I'd looked it up when we first moved in because the plant was so different from all the other weeds in our garden. It reminded me of my mom's jade plants (poisionous house plants she had when we were kids), so I wanted to know if it was safe to feed the goats. Come to find's not only safe for goats, it's actually chock full of nutrition for humans! This is purslane (the wild variety) and it's growing all over our garden:

Wild purslane - high in vitamins and quite tasty (similiar to watercress, apparently).

I did taste it - and it's nice. Mild but flavorful. I can see how it would be a great addition to salads.

Then last night, we found out that all of these 'weeds' growing in our yard are also edible:

Plantain - the leaves are edible and suposedly tasty.

Bull thistle - the tap root is supposedly sweet and filling when harvested in spring.

Chickweed - we have this growing in our row garden area. The goats sure love it!

White oak acorns - the acorns make a nice hearty flour if processed correctly (remove all the bitter tannins).

We have this one other plant that grows super fast and is very watery. The goats eat it often enough to keep it in check (it's mostly in the area that we fenced in for them) and it doesn't appear to spread at all. We still have not identified it. I'll take some photos of it this weekend and post them...perhaps one of my readers who are more educated than I am about this area can ID it for us. If it's edible - I'd be thrilled since it's so prolific!

In addition to the 'weeds' listed above, we also have tons of wild grapes and wild blackberries along the perimeter of our property. Food abounds in the PNW when you know what to look for...


darsden said...

you have a nice view and a variety of plants around. I have acorns all over my yard..never once thought about making something with them other than a wonderful smelling fire.

JES said...

How many acorns (in pounds?) do you need? I'll send you some--really!

I'm going to try making acorn flour and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Purslane is very good. It's a typical salad green in France.

Anonymous said... you think that funny growing weed the goats like could be kudzu? It is all over the south and the only animal that will eat it is a goat. I am anxious to see a picture of it. The Sternbergs live on Purslane in Trinity....never thought I would see that name again! LOve, Mom

Cat said...

Hi all!

Mom - the weed is definitely not Kudzu. I would recognize that stuff was taking over NC when we were there! There have been reports of Kudzu in the PNW, but not local to us (yet!).

Jes - good luck with the flour!