Any forager in the know will tell you that this ‘weed’, is in fact very common, so goodness knows my strife. Quite possibly I was drunk in Devon and couldn’t see those diminutive heart shaped leaves just feet in front of my face. I’ll not know. At least until next week when I head down and cover the same turf again, and even some wider more exhaustive terrain to see exactly what other odds and sods I can gather.
Back to the Common, on my walk home from work today, I didn’t come across any either. I did however stumble right across an untapped mini field area of sloes so gathered those to my hearts content to appease the gathering need. Rely on London to sort you out when you firmly believed you had fallen short.
So as promised, a couple of blog posts ago, here are some recipes, the first of which I’m starting today. I plan to use it in exactly the same way I have ever used any foraged herb, which is simply to use it in place of a green I would otherwise have bought from the supermarket, but with a touch of smugness knowing it’s totally organic, healthy and free.
Stir Fry Ready Salted Shepherd’s Purse
1) Chop the Shepherd’s Purse into bitesize pieces
2) Cover liberally with Salt and leave to stand overnight. This will extract a lot of the juices and leave you with a product that will fry with finesse.
Use like the Chinese and add to Chinese food, Stir Frys, Dumplings, Wontons etc.
Or replace more standard greens with these just generally.
Make an omelette, saute as a side, or dress up nicely and add to a salad.
The heart shaped leaves are just so pretty so why not dry these out, oven bake them on a low heat and sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt for a lighter and very beautiful crunch to a salad.
The possibilities are endless.
Simply Raw Shepherd’s Purse
Since it’s all edible, and as mentioned above tends to not have any of that bitterness often associated with foraged greens, simply clean it up, chop it to your fancy and go straight ahead and eat it raw. In salads, or as a herb to garnish endless other dishes.
As the medicinal benefits of the ‘purse are considered pretty high, and because traditionally it was used to prevent bleeding, I’m going to go straight out there and assert that it must be a pretty good thing to eat, especially if you suffer from Lady Problems. It’s also been said to help with fever. Fundamentally, we know it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, all essential to our daily diets and since it is also very tasty, in a radish / cabbage like way, I am very happy to know about and use this plant in my diet. Bonus points for the heart shaped leaves making the 14th February a walk in the park…