Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weed 'em and Eat

By Judith Garfield

Unlike Mary Louise Parker, I have found no lucrative solution to my weed problem.

My weeds are invasive, hardy, and aggressive. They are impossible to tame and they grow like, well, weeds. They continually spoil the beauty of my wild roses and my red brick pathways, giving me no respite from the backbreaking chore of pulling them up.

Many of us have decided to just give up the fight and refer to our weeds as wildflowers. Others have taken to calling them herbs, chopping and sautéing them with copious amounts of garlic and onions. Before you resort to this culinary tactic, I suggest having a copy of “The Handbook of Edible Weeds” by James A. Duke on hand.

I myself have sworn off weeding since my run in with Poison Ivy last summer. I’m reluctant to touch anything remotely weedy. I subtly ignore S. when he remarks the garden needs weeding. I know eventually he’ll tackle the problem without me since I suspect he still feels guilty about my ordeal.

The only weed I will gladly harvest and can readily identify is mint. Mint is wonderful and so useful. Add it to your lemonade, iced tea or just plain water for a refreshing summer thirst quencher. Innovative cooks can easily whip up tasty recipes for mint pesto and chutney. I made a mint pesto type thing that I spread on a sandwich type thing and it was delicious, but I would hesitate to call it a recipe.

Mint can make even the most loveless dish appear impressive. A few mint leaves added to a plate of nude pasta takes it from dreary to cheery without much effort. Your fruit salad will look positively gourmet with a few sprigs of mint on top.

Sprig is one of those words that good cooks like to throw around. Like a pinch of salt or a dash of vanilla. By casually remarking “I always put a few sprigs of mint on my fruit salad” you will sound like quite the clever cook.

As S. likes to tell me, never underestimate the power of a good condi-mint.


Anonymous said...

This has been very informative. I had no idea mint was a weed!! I recently was at a party where the host served mojitos made from fresh mint right out of their backyard garden. I thought the host was very chic and an excellent gardener. Now that I know the mint was actually just a weed, I am impressed by her resourcefulness as well! And I still believe she is an excellent gardener. Being able to weed and make mojitos at the same time is very impressive.

Anonymous said...

one man's weed is etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

The only way I like to eat mint is in mint chocolate chip ice cream. But now that you've alerted me to the fact that mint is a weed ----- I might go back to straight chocolate.