fiddlehead definition

fid·dle·head [ fídd'l hèd ] (plural fid·dle·heads) noun
Definition: edible fern shoot: the coiled frond of a young fern, often cooked and eaten as a delicacy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

what is a weed?

"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I ran across this quote in my journal and it reminded me of a day when I saw a roadside filled with cornflowers (chicory) on a morning excursion only to have it mowed down by late afternoon when I drove by again. Mowed down because they are weeds. But what if cornflowers are not weeds to me? What if they are the loveliest of flowers, the color of my favorite crayon in the box of 64?

How can they be considered weeds when they are the essence of delicious Community Coffee? Chicory (Cichorium intybus) frissee is a spicy addition to a salad as well.

Another roadside beauty is Queen Anne's lace, often mowed over without thought. I love that it has such an in interesting history to it's nomenclature. As a little girl, I always thought it was named after a fancy queen who wore lacy dresses and once pricked her finger on a thorn, dripping a drop of blood on the flower. She was so very special that from that day on, all the flowers grew with a red dot in the center. When I googled it seems there are many stories.

Queen Anne's Lace is not only beautiful, it is tasty and good for you. Also called wild carrot, it's root tastes like...wait for it... a carrot. They can be eaten as any root vegetable or in soup and are packed with vitamin A1, B1 and B2. The flowers can be fried for a tasty, pretty treat. It can even be made into a delicious jelly.

Dandelions are often viewed as a noxious weed by some and an endless source of outdoor entertainment by others (who hasn't made a wish on a dandelion?) Who knew they are a tasty and healthful salad green nutritiously filled with vitamins A &C, iron, and more calcium than spinach. They are commonly used as a salad green, but can also be braised, stewed, and sauteed. This much maligned "weed" has edible roots, flowers and greens.

I could go on and on. Wood violets--love to place them on top of the buttercream icing of a chocolate cupcake. So pretty.

Sweet peas, chickweed, day lilies, purslane, clover... The terms "beautiful flower" or "noxious weed" are subjective points of view imposed on plants. I try to stay clear of the good or evil outlook and instead seek out the positive. Caterpillar? Butterfly? Come have a salad with me. I won't judge you or the ingredients.

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