Ever since I discovered Foraging New England by Tom Seymour, I’ve been amazed. There is not a wasted word in this book. Seymour is not only a master forager, he’s an excellent field guide writer.
This is the only field guide – right now the only book – I carry with me.
So there I was, waiting my turn at the DMV, when the photo – and Seymour’s description of Quickweed (Galinsoga ciliata) connected in my brain. I’ve been staring at this plant every Wednesday when I harvest or weed.
I harvested a large bag of quickweed by trimming the tender tops, took them home and prepared them as Seymour describes by boiling them for 10 minutes. His anecdote about how he discovered quickweed is an edible is really amusing.
I only ate a small amount, waited to see if I had any reaction. I had about a tablespoon plain and another tablespoon with butter and a bit of salt.
Typically, I’ll read about a plant or mushroom and then look for it in the appropriate habitat; it’s easier than finding a plant in the field and sorting through field guide keys.
So I’m sure I read about Quickweed, then saw it when I was working on the farm. I knew I recognized it from somewhere. I just didn’t remember what to do with it.
I like quickweed as much as lamb’s quarters, chickweed and other leafy greens. Foraging while weeding the garden gives me the best of both worlds.