By garden is blooming just now. Verdant, lush, bountiful and ever so green. But it is not flowers and veggies that are sprouting with such abundant glee, oh no my friends, it is weeds….
The little buggers are prolific to say the least. Actually some of them like the dandelions, wild garlic and chickweed at least add a little colour to the all out greenness of the place.
I decided this week that instead of the usual all out panic that usually fills my heart at the thought of weeding I would actually embrace them and try to use them in a constructive way.
Now I have made use of weeds in the past, take for example my Cool Chick Oil, Nice Nettle Hair Rinse or good old Nettle Soup, but this time I thought I’d gather a few of the little blighters together and try to create something wonderfully weedy.
Dear friends, I now give you Weedy Relish!
Now I’m using my wild garlic in this recipe which most wouldn’t think of as a weed, but since it grows wild rather well in these parts I include it in my weedy relish as part of the general free abundant greenery.
When you are choosing your weeds (I’ve gone for dandelions, wild garlic, chickweed and nettles here) make sure you are picking weeds that have not been sprayed by any chemicals and are not growing at doggy height or beside a road. You really don’t want wee on your weeds or car exhaust fumes and other unpleasantness. Go get those weeds out in the wild woods, hedgerows, your own garden or fields.
When picking nettles you want to go for young and nubile nettles and just the tips (top few leaves), ignore the gnarly old nettles that are darker green and stringy, these are bitter old boots and you don’t want to eat them. Another word on nettles – stings, wear gloves to pick them and quickly blanch in boiling water for 1 minute then drain and squeeze out excess water before use. This takes the sting out of them.
Chickweed is a pretty little plant with delicate white flowers and round leaves. It tastes very much like watercress and grows in the shade.
Dandelions need no introduction. You want to use the bright green youthful looking leaves (oh this is all so ageist isn’t it) and just the yellow petals (not the white at the base of the flower or the green part or stems.
Wild garlic leaves are great as they are, just chop off any excess stalks.
I gathered a good bunch of weeds which when I chopped them up filled 5 measuring cups. The only other ingredients you’ll need here are 1 1/2 cups of cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt.
You want to toss your chopped weeds in a big bowl and sprinkle on 1 teaspoonful of salt and 1 cup of the vinegar.
Get in there with your hands and make sure everything is well mixed.
Then cover the bowl with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge overnight.
Next day remove the clingfilm and lift out the weeds and give them a good squeeze to release some of the vinegar.
Discard the leftover vinegar in the bowl.
Pack the weeds into a sterilised jar .
Heat up the remaining 1/2 cup of cider vinegar along with the rest of the salt and lit it bubble for 3 minute to create a good pickling brine.
Set aside and allow to cool completely before pouring over the weeds in the jar.
Cover with a secure lid and give the relish a jolly good shake.
Set aside in the fridge overnight and then it is ready to use.
Your relish will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
So that’s it, weedy relish just another way to get something good out of something most folks will try to avoid. Cheap, cheerful and tasty!
- 5 cups of chopped mixed weeds (nettle tops, chickweed, wild garlic and dandelion leaves and flowers)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1½ cups of cider vinegar
- Blanch the nettle tops in boiling water for 1 minute to remove the sting then swueeze out water and chop.
- Toss all chopped weeds in a large bowl and sprinkle over 1 tsp salt and 1 cup of cider vinegar, mix well with your hands.
- Cover bowl with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge overnight.
- Next day squeeze out the weeds and discard the liquid.
- Pack weeds into a sterilised jar.
- Heat the remaining cider vinegar and salt in a samll pan and boil 3 minutes to create a pickling brine.
- Allow to cool completely before pouring over the weeds, cover jar and shake well.
- Place the jar in the fridge overnight and then use your relish with cold meats etc.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.