I had a great day yesterday. Four of us gathered at a friend’s house to make knotweed wine. We started by gathereing the knotweed. I don’t think I have ever run across anything quite so invasive. It is growing everywhere. It is one of those nasty things that is impossible to get rid of. We have a patch that has been covered with a heavy carpet for two years and it once again managed to find a tiny tear and work it’s way through. So if you can’t beat it, eat it.

While we worked on the wine we ate a lunch of wild edibles. Bishops Weed is another invasive. I have cursed it many times but little did I know how useful it is. It is one of the first greens to emerge in the spring. It can be prepared much like spinach. We ate it sauteed in olive oil and garlic and sprinkled with some sea salt and spread on slices of homemade bread. Fabulous! We also had pickled ramps (wild leek). I ate 15 of them. Addictive but so good. One of the biggest surprises was a caper like food my friend, Leni, made that turned out to be pickled milkweed flowerets. Leni pickled them at the small, hard, green stage last year. The ramps have only been in  brine for a week. We had a salad with all kinds of good green things from my greenhouse. Unfortunately, the dandelion greens are already bitter as the flowers are emerging but that just means another wine making session is in the offing. We had some fiddleheads too and a lemon balm iced tea.

We are looking at a week of rain so I think we will have morels and maybe early oysters next week. The best meal I ever ate was morels, sauteed in a garlic cream sauce and served over home made pasta. Rhubarb will be ready soon too. Yum.

I am not foolish enough to believe that we can solve the world’s food problems with a stand of bishop’s weed in every yard but I do think an effort should be made to teach families about the natural world and what it can provide. There are many wild and perennial foods that should be part of the landscape of not just rural, but urban and suburban yards. Sweet potatoes, white potatoes and garlic can reproduce themselves every year. Bean seeds are so easy to save that there is no reason not to do it and a prettier vine than scarlet runner beans is hard to find.

I am going to transplant some wild ginger today and hope it takes. I will also try to get some ramps to settle in on the shady hill by the stream that forms the border of my property. Life is good and blessings are abundant.

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