Eating Weeds

‘We ate weeds,” said a writer who had lived through the Great Depression.

That statement has always impressed me. Are they actually digestible? How would you cook them — steamed like artichokes, boiled for hours like collards, sauteed with a little butter like spinach. No butter during the Depression, maybe margarine instead.

But today I am wondering just what weeds they were — I know people who relish purslane, but the redwood-height plants that shouldn’t be in my garden aren’t purslane. We went in and pulled out a wheelbarrow full today, after putting the state of the garden out of mind for the last month or so.

Two things prosper there. Sunflowers, and eggplant. The sunflowers are mammoth and hang their heads like old fashioned shower heads. They all face out of the garden, toward the swamp, so we see their backs exclusively. Purple and white, the eggplant grow heavy, their skins shining in the sun. Actually there’s a third, the morning glory vine, producing dozens of cerulean blossoms every day. This is the first time in my life I’ve successfully grown morning glories.

But the weeds are still the main crop.

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Filed under Cooking, History, Home, Jean Zimmerman

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