OK, so maybe you live in a place with a patch of grass. Or at least it is supposed to be grass, but more often then not… it’s a patch of weeds. “Curses!” you say, “darn weeds, why can’t you just let the grass grow — stop taking over!”
But hold on a second here. That used to be exactly how I responded to a particularly vivacious weed that loves my back yard. I would send it little mental nasty-grams. Every time I looked at the yard I was feeling negative and hateful thoughts towards the weeds.
Then one day I saw some bunnies munching happily on my weeds. Why do they have it so easy – those bunnies? They get free food wherever they go. That got me thinking and remembering my dad once referred to that same weed that I hated, the broadleaf plaintain ( Plantago major), as being medicinal.
Also, as coincidence, someone forwarded me a YouTube video on an edible wild foods cafe in Durango Colorado. This piqued my interest in edible weeds.
So I started researching the broadleaf plaintain, and yep, sure enough — it has great health benefits. It is high in iron and good for sore throats, it dilates the bronchials (which means it’s good for asthma), reduces inflammation in mucus membranes, helps clear stomach and bowel infections, contains 18 amino acids and on and on the list of health benefits go.
So this little weed has been my favorite plant over the last month. Now when I see it I say, “yay — salad or pesto, or smoothie greens!” I knew the universe didn’t just favor bunnies… and I’m not sending poisonous thoughts to those helpful little greens. That’s gotta be better for me and the yard.
So, don’t make war on your lawn, make pesto! I have two recipes for you: pesto and sauteed greens. However, the way I use it most often is blended up in my morning smoothie with a banana, a few frozen raspberries and mango, along with some hemp seeds. So yummy!
Plant-Power Plaintain Pesto!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup lightly packed and rinsed plaintain
- 1/3 cup lightly packed and rinsed basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (can interchange with other nuts)
- 1/4 cup cashews (or walnuts or pistachios)
Directions: Blend everything but the pine nuts/nuts, then add the nuts after you get the base blended well. Serve with carrots and celery!
Sauteed Plaintain Greens – finger lick’en good!
- Chop up 2 cups of rinsed plaintains
- bag of frozen spinach
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 heaping T of the pesto recipe above
- sea salt to taste
In testing this recipe, I found – as usual – that 2 cups of greens sauteed down to about a third a cup of cooked food. This is why we are supplementing the fresh plaintains with a bag of frozen spinach.
Directions: Cook the frozen spinach according to directions ( I usually boil mine for 8 minutes). Get out your saute pan and saute the garlic in some olive oil, adding the plaintains after 3 minutes. Next, add the pesto to the pan, cook for one minute. Then add the cooked (and drained) frozen spinach.
Smile! You just got your greens for free!