Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guess what I'm eating for lunch?

Here's a hint. It grows like a weed in my garden and my yard, year round. As a matter of fact, it's one of the most common "weeds" that grow in Texas. And it's pretty too, when it blooms. I've been cursing it and yanking it up for years, annoyed that it would dare run rampant in the space where I needed to plant tomatoes.

It's HENBIT! I learned today that all parts of the henbit plant are edible (as long as it's not gathered from a busy roadside or from a lawn that's sprayed with chemicals or treated with fertilizers). In olden times, it was used as a pot-herb. I went into the garden and carefully pinched off a bit and tasted it. Hmmm....a little like very strong raw English peas. Getting brave, I took a bite to Husband. He ate it and proclaimed, "Well, it's not any worse than raw spinach or mustard greens." (Husband doesn't like mustard greens.) I figured I had nuthin' to lose and gathered a colander full, snipping the plant close to the ground. This time of year, the plant stems are a bit thicker than in the spring, but I didn't let that deter my experiment.

I took it inside and rinsed it twice in plain water (saving the water for, well, watering) and then chopped it up into tiny pieces. Meanwhile, I heated a bit of olive oil in a small skillet, sauteed some fat garlic cloves in it, then threw in the henbit. My cooking motto is...almost anything's edible if cooked with olive oil and garlic. (I do draw the line at chard, though.) I steamed and sauteed it for just a few minutes, tasted it, poured in a tiny glug of red wine (just because), stirred, sprinkled a bit of sea salt over it, let it cool....and then...

I tasted it! YUM! I love it. Husband...well, he's not convinced. Mostly he objected to the thick stems more than the taste. I told him to get used to it. After all, it's already there, I didn't have to plant it, it comes back year after year (after year), I don't have to fertilize or water it, and it's very nutritious. LOL. Cooked, it tastes like spinach with a slightly sweet aftertaste.


And to think that it's been here, right underfoot (literally) for all these years.

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.


Suneyedapril said...

Thank you for posting this! I had been letting it grow in one of my beds because I saw that the butterflies liked it, but didn't know I could eat it too.

About Bobbi C. said...

You're welcome, Suneyedapril!