Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's not that easy, eating greens



It’s not that easy, eating greens.
Seems they taste of nasty, bitter things...
When it seems we’d rather have sugary dreams...
Like Twinkies...or salted crunchies...
Or something much more tastier than that.


It’s not that easy, eating greens
Seems they lay there like limp ‘n’ ordinary things...
When we’d sooner something warm and bloody...
That yesterday...
Was eating greens itself on its own comfy-cozy patch.


I'm not a fan of greens. Never have been. Mustard, poke, turnip, spinach, doesn't matter the origin. The way into my heart does not pass through a plate of boiled-lifeless weeds drowning in pot liquor.

Hard times come to Texas, however. As in days gone by...the Great Depression of my parents and grandparents generations...the day is coming and now is when the true survivors will think again about what is food and how to make it delicious and nutritious. Consider, Children, the not-so-lowly wild lettuce.

Wild lettuce (Lactuca serriola), taller plant center,
surrounded by henbit. Lactuca easily mistaken
for dandelion.
Think you have dandelions running riot across your yard? Seems to me a trifle early, but then I'm the world's worst at keeping records from year to year. Besides, that pesky plant you think is a dandelion just might be wild or prickly lettuce.

Yes, I got fooled! Collected a tubful from the backyard, cleaned off the plants (leaves and roots) and let 'em soak in plain water over night. Did a simple (raw) taste test and later sauteed a mess of the greens with chopped onions in a couple tablespoons of bacon fat. Even AnniePie pronounced them "GOOD!"

In the course of continuing study, I discovered that what I had collected and believed to be dandelions were, in fact, prickly lettuce! And don't let that "prickly" part there put you off; we're not talking prickly pear class of prickly by any stretch.

Lactuca has a rap for tasting bitter, but I did not find it overly so in young, fresh leaves. Raw leaves taste something akin to lettuce. Mind, I did soak mine overnight in a bath of plain water. Same for the root, which is quite fibrous and chewy. The root tastes mildly astringent but not a lot of any flavor to my taste. I'll report further after I have enough of the roasted and ground root to play with.

Y'all come back now, hear?
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