Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/18 at 08:50 AM
Right now, people are beginning to harvest all sorts of stuff from the garden. Some of it is conventional stuff, like tomatoes. However, there’s a lot of food in gardens that many people ignore. Some of these may sound outright, well, weird—but give them a shot. They are the “best kept secrets” of the garden.
Bean leaves: When most people think of eating beans, they think of, well, eating the bean part. But yes, you can actually eat bean leaves. Bean leaves are fantastic in salads, and make an offbeat and tasty burger topping. They are packed with protein. One serving of bean leaves has as much protein as one egg.
Nasturtium: A beautiful garden flower, nasturtiums are a favorite in annual beds. While their bright orange and yellow flowers look good in a garden, they also look good in a salad. And they also taste good, adding a peppery zing. The leaves are also edible, but have too intense of a black pepper taste for some.
Kohlrabi leaves: The kohlrabi is grown for it’s “bulb,” which is less a bulb and more a swollen stem since the part most people eat on a kohlrabi is above-ground and not below-ground like most bulbs. However, kohlrabi leaves are pretty tough, so they need to be blanched first, then can be used in your favorite recipe for greens.
Watermelon rind: This may be no surprise to anyone who grew up in Amish country, but you can eat watermelon rinds. Pickled watermelon rind is a staple of Amish cuisine. Unusual, yes, but quite good.
Weeds: Yes, you can eat weeds. Before you say “ewwww,” keep in mind most herbs are basically weeds. Among the edible weeds that are common in your garden is pigweed—also known as wild amaranth, young dandelions, lamb’s quarters, burdock (yes, the thing with the burrs), plantain, and purslane. In fact, a Mexican breakfast dish, huevos con verdolagas, involves purslane. Simply saute 1/2 cup each chopped onion and purslane (young stems and leaves) in oil or butter for several minutes, stir in three beaten eggs, and cook like you would scrambled eggs. Serve with salsa and warm tortillas. It really is quite good.
One thing to keep in mind—there are all sorts of interesting things to eat in the garden, just make sure you check to see if they are edible!
Author: Jamie Oberdick
Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA
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