Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Free healthy greens ...

I'm sure you will know that I am interested in foraging for free food especially when I don't get anything reduced or like now while I'm waiting for my vegetables to mature outside.

I've not been in the mood for bargain shopping for a while, but having had several days of eating hardly anything because of 'circumstances', my stomach started to complain.  I had in the freezer a large bag of casserole veggies, root veggies, I put them in the slow cooker with some stock and a cube

I added a tin of chopped tomato's and some dried herbs and was surprised to see how much I had - a pot full ! obviously most of this was going to be frozen.  Anyway no room for potato's in there so I decided to steam some separately, but had no 'greens'.  I do however, had a small 'stand' of Rosebay Willow Herb growing at the back of the garden
I'm sure you've all seen this growing in the wild.  Try not to gather it from roadsides though.
This is a fantastic weed wild edible plant, the leaves are a great substitute for cabbage/spinach, the tender stalks can be chopped and added to stir fries and even the flowers can be eaten, the seeds are also supposed to be nice dry fried and can be ground or eaten as a snack although I haven't personally tried eating the seeds yet.
Anyway, I picked 6 stalks about 18" long, stripped off the leaves and put them to soak in cold water for a while.  This turned out to be too much for one person, 3 stalks is enough, it doesn't 'cook down'.
After draining them, I chopped them up ready for steaming
I steamed them on top of the potato's
You can see I'm never very far away from a cup of tea ! but I have to confess just lately it has been something stronger to help me through this difficult time.
I wasn't sure if the greens would need any extra flavouring, so I added some freshly ground black pepper and some of this spice from the £1 shop with a built in grinder
When they were tender I mashed the potato's and added the 'greens' with a knob of butter, a bit like Bubble and Squeak, well exactly like Bubble and Squeak really.  I don't like my potato's well mashed, that's too sloppy for me, so I 'crush' them as Jamie Oliver would say, whack them about a bit, chuck in the butter and smash them up, so suitably whacked, smashed and crushed, I ended up with this, and very tasty it was too
At the back are some left over 'crushed' potato's and greens, which I used as a topping for a pie made with some of the veggie 'stew'
There's 2/3 portions here as well as half a pot full of stew left, I will sprinkle this with grated cheese before heating it up.  And if that isn't stretching food to infinity and beyond, I still had some potato mix left to which I added an egg and some cheese, formed it into patties and put them in to the freezer.
Just one more picture showing the steaming water, it contains the goodness from the potato's as well as nutrients from the willowherb.  This will be used either for gravy/sauce or as a stock base for soup or a slow cooked dish, nothing is wasted.
This has been a fantastic experiment in frugality, and when I tried to put a price on each meal, I couldn't because it came out as a - price !  I don't count things like butter, an egg or a pinch of herbs etc., in the costings, most people have those in the house anyway.  So all in all - result !
Thank you all so much for your kind comments, they have helped tremendously (and still are).
Here  I am with my Dearest Boy, just after he collapsed in pain in the kitchen
I had called the vet at this point, I knew what I had to do.  I picked him up carefully at put him on his favourite velvet cushion while we waited, this is the last picture ...
I can't write anymore about this, it chokes me too much.


  1. Oh Wean, when I think of the hundreds of those plants that i have pulled up and composted. I never knew that they were edible, I know where there is a stand of them and will be foraging away tomorrow.

    1. Oh don't waste them, they are a rich source of minerals and vitamins.

  2. I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a dear fur ball friend.


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