Monday, July 11, 2011

Plantain: A Wild Green You Can Eat

With grocery prices going sky high, we all need to be growing some food ... even if it's the kind you don't have to plant. Our yard has plantain in many places and many varieties of it. I knew its medicinal qualities, but didn't know it could be used as a vegetable. How cool! Don't get this confused with the one that looks like a banana in a grocery store.

From Mother Earth News:

One of the most common and plentiful of urban wild vegetables is a weed known as common plantain (Plantago major), which can grow from almost any patch of dirt. Common plantain is not only hardy enough to sprout up from cracks in asphalt and concrete — even gravel roadsides — but it can thrive in any climate.

Nutritionally, plantain is equally amazing. Related to spinach, plantain leaves are rich in iron and vitamins A and C. Plantain may be eaten uncooked, but adult leaves tend to be stringy, and seedpods are a bit tough.

Preparation is as simple as boiling washed plants until tender, then serving the leaves as you would spinach, or the seedpods as you might green beans or asparagus.

A little apple cider vinegar helps enliven the taste of cooked leaves, and I personally like them served hot with butter, salt and pepper. Seedpods are good in stews, soups and stir-fries, or with melted cheese over them. Read the entire article and get out there and look for plantain in your yard or a wild area nearby.

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