Monday, June 6, 2011

A Weed is Just an Unwanted Plant

"A weed is just an unwanted plan..."

My husband used to say this to me all the time.  Not so much anymore which means either I've convinced him to come over to my side (unlikely), or he's given up (that's the one!)

The conversation would go like this:

Jeff: Can I spray the yard?
Me: With pesticides?
Jeff: Yeah
Me: But it's bad for the dog!
Jeff: We'll keep him off until it's safe
Me: What about all the other animals who don't know to stay off of it?  Like the bunnies!
Jeff: But the front yard is full of weeds!  It looks bad.
Me: Will it kill the violets?
Jeff: Yes.  It will kill all the weeds.
Me: Violets aren't weeds!  They're our state flower!!
Jeff: A weed is just an unwanted plant!
Me: Well I want them, therefore they're not weeds and you can't kill them.
Jeff: (Walks away grumbling and, I assume, rolling eyes)
My Brain: YAY!  I WIN!!!

So, I was thinking today, if a weed really is just an unwanted plant, then all I have to do is want all the plants in my yard and I'll never have to weed again.  Housework defeated by logic!  HA!

Unfortunately, I want my garden full of tomatoes, not dandelions and grass, so that's not going to work.  I do, however, wish that I could do more with what I'm pulling out than just throw it into the compost pile.  Yesterday, I joked that I wish I had a recipe to use up my Creeping Charlie.  It was a joke.  Honest.  But, it got a response from one of my friends on Facebook.  Apparently, she had been weeding and wondered if there were any recipes for Creeping Charlie.  And she wasn't kidding.  AND, she was specifically turning to me for advice!  So... I guess that's what I'm known for... I'm the girl who eats weeds... That's fine.  I guess it's better than being that guy who will eat anything for five bucks!!

To be fair, it doesn't take much to send me off on a tangent.  I'm always looking for an excuse not to do what I'm supposed to do, and instead watch Food Network and search the internet for new recipes.  And one comment on Facebook is really all I need to get me started.

So here is what I learned, mostly from Wikipedia:

Glechoma hederace, also known as Ground-Ivy, Grill-Over-the-Ground, or Creeping Charlie has numerous medicinal uses and is commonly used as a tasty salad green in many countries.  It is native to Europe and Southwestern Asia, and is a member of the mint family.  It was imported to America by early European settlers, who wanted it for it's culinary and medicinal uses.  It was also used by the Saxons in beer brewing before the introduction of hops.

Supposedly (I am not a doctor.  This is all from Wikipedia!  Do not take any medical advice from this blog ever!!!!  Seriously.), Creeping Charlie treats inflammation of the eyes, kidney diseases, indigestion, and bronchitis, as well as colds and coughs, congestion, and mucus.  It may also protect against the formation of ulcers.  Finally, it is an astringent an expectorant, and a diuretic.

On sale!  Only $5.99!
Who decides what is a weed?  I have had several people come up to me and say they would never, NEVER eat dandelions.  But I was at Outpost yesterday and they had French Dandelion leaves for $7.99 a pound.  AND, they were out!  I asked one of the employees if there was any, and she said that I was the third person to ask that day!  They would have more Wednesday, but it tended to go quick so I should consider calling ahead.  So, not only do people want dandelions, they want IMPORTED dandelions, and they're willing to pay three times more for it than regular lettuce, and it sells out on a regular basis.  That's crazy pants!  I have a hard time paying $7.99 a pound for meat!

According to the USDA, dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in terms of overall nutritional value.  They are the third richest source of beta-carotene, after cod-liver and beef-liver, and are rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, and protein - and yet we refuse to eat them.  Creeping Charlie was brought here from Europe by settlers because they couldn't be without it - and yet we refuse to eat it.  Dill, on the other hand, is just as invasive as any of these, but it's not a weed.  Rhubarb, strawberries, and raspberries - all three would take over my yard if they could, but they're not weeds.  Why?  Who says?

I'm a plant!
I'm the WI state flower!
I'm a weed!

Anyway, here is your recipe:

Creeping Charlie Hot Toddy

  • 1/8 cup loosely packed Creeping Charlie leaves (L*)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • honey to taste (about a tbsp) (L)
  • Lemon to taste (about a tbsp)
  • 1.5 oz brandy
I'm not sure if it was the brandy, the Creeping Charlie, or the fact that I was coming off of two days of motorcycle license classes in the hot, hot sun, but this knocked me out!  Just a warning.

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