From Weed to Treasure–Callaloo

Weeds. They spring up in sidewalk cracks, between rows of your favorite garden veggie, and everywhere else they’re not wanted. But as more and more gardeners know and I’m realizing little by little, they’re not all bad. A recent epiphany came from a line on my CSA’s blackboard in the pick-your-own list:

Pig weed (callaloo)

Now, I’d heard of callaloo and I’d seen pig weed make itself at home in the garden, but never connected the two! The next time I yanked out those straight green stalks with Ace-of-spades-shaped leaves, instead of tossing them in the compost, I was debating whether I should steam or saute. 

Carmelizing onions, then throwing on the callaloo and cooking, covered, with a little water, worked well. Be sure to wash the leaves well, submerging then in water and swishing them around to loosen the grit. The leaves are more tender than other greens like kale or collards, so don’t cook them too much. Their flavor is pretty mild, without any bitterness or no oxalic acid taste of spinach and chard, but it did give me a little tickle in the throat.

With my next batch, I want to try this recipe. (Now where to find bammy around here??)

I’ve since noticed callaloo thriving along sidewalks and intentionally planted (I think) in another plot in our community garden. Maybe you’ll start noticing it, too. (See mug shots here). When you do, I highly recommend picking some–as long as it hasn’t been bathed in tons of car exhaust.

Next in the series, if ADD-like tendencies don’t get the best of me: purslane, dandelion leaves, and lamb’s quarters!

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2 thoughts on “From Weed to Treasure–Callaloo

  1. Hurrah for wild edibles! You know, Rhea, it was you who introduced me to purslane, and I’ve been eating things off the side of the road ever since.

  2. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, but the name of this blog says it all. You, Rhea, are not only a deliciously-lovely-scrumptious person, but you can make anything taste delicious, weed or not! Looking forward to posts on the other wild edibles. Some good cooking ideas for wild edibles can be found in one of my favorite cookbooks, “Greens, Glorious Greens”, by Johhna Albi. Though I’d bet money you can improve on their recipes!

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