Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2017

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/807408

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Page 27 of 43

Nature's W ith all of our winter rains, our landscape no longer looks like a desert, but rather a ver- dant wilderness garden. Wild plants have sprung up proli cally in yards and alleys and open elds. Most of these are great foods and medicines, disguised as "weeds." Here are a few that are abundant right now. Many others will appear later in the year. SOW THISTLE (Sonchus oleraceus) When most folks see a sow thistle, they think it's a tall dan- delion, since the owers are nearly identical to dandelion. Sow thistle is from Europe, and it grows everywhere. It gets typically a few feet high, with clusters of the yellow dandelion-like owers. e leaves of sow thistle are tender and palatable in salad (unlike dandelion, whose leaves must be cooked). Sow thistle leaves are also great in stews, egg dishes, soups, etc. Besides being a mild and tasty green, it's a good source of vitamin A and calcium. CHICKWEED (Stellaria media) Chickweed is an annual plant from Europe which sprouts up af- ter the rains, so we're now seeing it "everywhere." is is the time to enjoy this tender plant in salads. I make salads from chickweed whenever I can, adding dressing, tomatoes, olives. Yes, you can cook it in soup, or with eggs, but it's really best raw. It has tender stems, with a ne line of white hairs along one side of the stem. Leaves are opposite and they come to a tip. ere are ve deeply cle petals on each little ower. It's very common. Interestingly, chickweed is also sold at health food stores in tea bags, as a diuretic. MALLOW (Malva neglecta) Mallow is a European native which is found all over the U.S. and it's currently seen growing in yards and elds and vacant lots. It's recognized by its round leaves with ne teeth on the edges, and most people think it's an ornamental geranium. e leaves are mild and can be added to salads, or any cooked dish, such as soup, or stews. e little fruits – sometimes called "cheeses" – can also be picked and eaten fresh, or they can be picked when mature and cooked to create a sort of "poor man's rice." Common mallow is related to another European plant, the marsh mallow. In the past, marsh mallow roots were boiled to create an egg white substance, then whipped to get an old-fashioned cough remedy. In Mexican herb shops, the dried mallow leaves, called "malva," are sold so you can make a tea to treat coughs and sore throats. e fresh leaves are an excellent source of iron, calcium, and vitamin A. Article & Photos by Christopher Nyerges Wild ith all of our winter rains, our landscape no Article & Photos by Christopher Nyerges Wild Wild Wild Wild Wild Bounty Wild Wild Nature's 28 wholelifetimes.com

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