I love gardening. I only moved into my home last September, so have been waiting impatiently to see what pops up in the Spring and get my hands dirty. Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day, so I decided to get stuck in.
One of the things I love most about tending to a garden, is enjoying natures surprise gifts, or weeds as some people call them! It fills my heart with joy to see the cheerful yellow sun shaped dandelions bringing the first flash of colour after a long dull winter, it’s great to have so many interesting and pretty plants to enjoy without having done a thing.
I felt very sad while browsing the garden section of my local supermarket to see among the pretty pots and bird boxes, half of the products consisted of bottles labelled bug killer! weed killer! ant killer! etc. Why do humans have such a need to destroy and control nature instead of just enjoying it harmoniously?!
Of course there are times when I want to choose my own plants for the garden; I have an Oregano bush that has loyally accompanied me through four homes and two allotments, and after being squished into a pot for the last six months, it had earned itself a sunny spot to spread into. So up came a few Dandelion plants and some Herb Robert, which I put into a large bowl of water to keep fresh whilst I settled the Oregano and a woody Thyme and re-potted various other plants, enjoying the warm sun on my back.
I scrubbed the dandelion roots clean and pondered how to use them. The only time I had tried to use them before was by drying and powdering them and it had tasted very bitter. I was considering turning them into a drink this time, something along the lines of Dandelion and Burdock minus the Burdock (which I have yet to locate).
By now, the sun had dipped below the hill, and the evening chill prompted us to fire up the chimenea for the first time since the winter solstice, for what felt suitably like a Spring Equinox celebration, despite being a week late, technically.
Happily relaxed after a productive day in the sunshine, we sat and gazed into the hypnotic flames as the light faded and the stars began to appear in the sky. I went inside for something and passing the clean Dandelion roots soaking in water, was struck by inspiration to have a go at roasting them over the fire. I skewered a couple of smaller roots, sprinkled them with sea salt and stoked the fire to provide a bed of glowing embers, over which we slowly roasted them.
I didn’t have high hopes after my first bitter taste of the raw roots dried, so was pleasantly surprised to find they were actually rather good cooked in this primitive fashion. Although the bitter taste wasn’t entirely absent, it came through as a palatable after taste and there was even a sweetness where the thinner parts had caramelised slightly. We sat and contemplated the various seasonings we could add to improve them further. I shall certainly be roasting Dandelion roots again in the future!
Impressed but unsatisfied with the meagre portion, I made a quick Thai Green curry for supper, adding the Herb Robert leaves for extra greens.
Have you turned weeding into feeding? Share your comments below.
Happy Foraging Foodies!