Week of November 12, 2013 - part 2 - weed walk- Barbara's cress, beans and shepherds purse

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:45 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Weed Walk
Here are photos and info on some of our delicious finds at the CSA pick-your-own garden. Enjoy!

Barbara’s cress (Barbarea vulgaris)
This mustard family plant was growing profusely on the rows that had been harvested and left fallow. What a beautiful sight to see such solid masses of this shiny plant. Unfortunately, it is far too bitter for most tastes, including mine. Since it stays green all winter, it has been praised as an emergency food. Several bath in boiling water, which is discarded, will remove enough of the bitter to allow one to eat it. When it blooms in the spring, it is known as yellow rocket.

Just look at all the green beans that were left on the bushes. One long row of bush beans was too much for the members and lots of beans went unpicked. (Note to self: Pick more green beans next year.) Time to harvest the dried pods, spend a few mornings shelling the beans, and use them this winter in baked beans. Yes indeed, dried beans are the mature seeds of green (that’s why they call them green) beans.

The pods that were completely mature and totally dried on the vines gave beans that were all one color. The pods that weren’t, produced beans in a rainbow of shades. (Mentored students, there is a bean story waiting for you.) I’ll save a handful of the seeds and plant them next year. Who knows, perhaps they will lead me to the magical harp and the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Shepherd’s purse (Bursa capsella pastoris)
Another mustard family plant enjoying the cool early winter weather. We found shepherd’s purse in all stages of growth out at the farm: some seeding plant and some just making new rosettes of leaves to overwinter.

The photo is of a bowl of shepherd’s purse seeds. I found a massive stand of it this summer, with lots of seeds, so I harvested about half of it, stuck the seeds heads in a bag, and put it aside to deal with later. Now is later; later is now. These seeds were easily freed from their capsules and winnowed to make ready to use. Books say they were used to extend flour during lean times, but I have never really seen enough to make that a practical possibility. As you can see, even half of a massive stand yielded very few seeds.

~ Recipe - Vegetable Soup ~

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