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Wednesday, March 18, 2015
It has begun!
Welcome back to the first spring episode of Lost In the Farmer’s
Market. In case you missed the memo Friday is the first official day of spring,
and with it the temperatures and weather should level out just a bit making
gardening a bit easier. Today I’ve got the first surefire sign of spring in the
test gardens. In our first photograph we have the first spring-blooming shrub
at the test garden which is a rabbit eye Blueberry. Blueberries are some of the
most reliable indicators of spring because they always bloom within the same
time period regardless of how cold the winter was. Additionally rabbit eyes are
more native to the region and thus once established are reliable and heavy
producers of larger than average berries.
Let’s just say the pollinators
are going to love this.
But with that talk of spring we have the spring weeds, and our main
topic. In the last two episodes we spoke of weeds that were perfectly edible.
This week the weed in question is the plant pictured below.
Henbit – lamium amplexicaule
For those of you out there who are plant Latin aficionados, the first
name ‘Lamium’ means this plant is
related to the dead nettles and by extension is a member of the mint family. It
has square stems that are hollow, and bears light fuzz on the stems and leaves.
This cool-season weed emerges in mid-late spring and may persist into the heat
of summer and may be found in plant containers and in shady areas well into the
dog days of August. Otherwise much like chickweed, Henbit will appear and
disappear than reappear from seed once cool weather returns in fall. Being a
member of the mint family it does produce nectar for pollinators and has a somewhat
attractive lavender-purple flower.
Hey there henbit, just hanging
Now what do you do with henbit? Well it’s edible and you can harvest
the young leaves and shoots in spring. You can combine it with other greens in
a salad, where it will add texture and color and a minty-flavor. As a pot herb
you can collect up to 4 cups of shoots and leaves, cover them with water and
boil for 10 minutes. Separately melt 3 tablespoons of butter, add a teaspoon of
curry powder, 2 whole cloves and 1/4th teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir
the mix and then add 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for another minute until
you get a smooth consistency. AT this point you can add 3/4th cup of
Sour Cream, or parmesan cheese to taste. Lastly you should simmer the final
mixture for about 15 minutes very gently. What you end up with is a sort of ‘creamed
spinach’ sort of dish that goes well with rice and chicken. The last time I
made this, I served the henbit-crème inside of a ‘bowl’ made of the rice with
chicken on the side. I also substituted Cajun seasonings for the curry powder.
As always, this weekend we have another Fayetteville City Market, and
it is the first of spring 2015. The market runs from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and is
located on 325 Franklin Street in the front and back parking lots of the
Fayetteville Transportation Museum. This week I’ll have soup kits, but also the
first of the new spring product.
-Parris Island Lettuce
-Rouge D’Hiver Lettuce
-Rosso di Chioggia Radicchio
So the weather is supposed to be decent on Saturday and hopefully I’ll
get to see you at the market. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for next
weeks ‘edible weed’.