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Early Spring Gems and Harvest Challenge

It's all knotweed all the time.  The daffodils just started blooming here in Cummington and I'm taunted by the seasonal advancements of everywhere else.  The magnolias and dandelions in Northampton and Schenectady (another place I visit), catapult me into another time, three weeks (?) in the future, if the flowers kept time.  It takes all my restraint to not travel to far flung places for the latest plant pop. So for now, we're savoring the glory of knotweed, garlic mustard, and some infant chickweed and nettles here in the hills.  Oh and ramps of course! 

This weeks menu includes Joe's Knotweed salad! For anyone who has been on an early May walk with Acorn Kitchen, you may remember this one. It's an instant classic that showcases knotweed well.  I do have a confession to make. I have a bookcase full of wild food cookbooks and guides, but I am still very much a millennial, albeit a "cuspy" one, and utilize the internet often for culinary support. This is how I found Joe's knotweed salad. 

A blogger posted this recipe and I found it while wandering the web in hopes of some kitchen genius. Genius it is! Every time I make this salad people like it and it helps build a bridge to this plant many plant people actively hate. I wrote an article about it a while back here. The blog where I originally found the recipe vanished temporarily but now has a new identity, "The Joyful Forager." Here is her version of the recipe (or Joe's version rather) if you're looking for a quarantine food project and have some knotweed nearby. Remember, source safely (knotweed is often sprayed with glyphosate, which wrecks havoc on gut bacteria)!  

I'm thinking of adopting a plot of knotweed somewhere this year and regularly cutting it for a citizen science experiment. How well does aggressively harvesting knotweed for food and medicine help manage this vivacious plant? Any anecdotal evidence out there? Please send in your thoughts, I'm collecting data. If you have some in your backyard and want to participate, send me a message. 

For this week's menu click the button below. 

May we all find ways to befriend what challenges us. 

Until next time! 

Carly