An Easy Way into Wild Greens

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There are a whole stack of reasons why you might want to start harvesting, cooking and eating wild greens (AKA potherbs or “weeds”). Free food, locally grown, seasonal and highly nutritious……..oh, and did I mention free? These are all great reasons to look into wild greens, but there are some rules to follow when harvesting them, which I outline here.

One reason you might not be so enthusiastic is that they can have varying levels of bitterness. If you like bitterness in your food that’s cool but if you are like us and don’t, here is a way to include them in your diet without activating your gag reflex. In fact they become downright tasty!

The recipe is a simple one, based on a Kylie Kwong Recipe I got out of John Newton’s book “The Oldest Foods On Earth”, my version goes as follows –

A good slug of oil, eg peanut oil etc.
½ tsp of coarse salt*
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
100 – 150gms of edible leafy greens**
2 tbsp Kekap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
3 tbsp chicken stock
1tsp sesame oil

1. Heat the oil in a wok,
2. Toss in the salt, garlic and onion. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Cut the leaves up into quarters, toss into the wok and stir fry for 3 minutes,
4. Add the kekap manis, stir fry for a minute,
5. Add the stock and stir fry for one minute,
6. Remove from the heat, add the sesame oil and serve immediately

* The salt added plus the salt in the soy sauce and the stock masks the bitter flavour of the wild greens.

** Here is the sneaky bit! You can start out with all silver beet or spinach leaves if you like, just to see what it tastes like, then add in wild greens as you go! Recently I made this recipe with equal parts silver beet, mallow, milk thistle and dandelion leaves, but the combinations are endless.

By starting out with the milder cultivated leaves and then adding more and more wild greens as you go along you will be surprised how much of this free resource you can introduce into your diet.



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