Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hairy Bittercress - Foraged Salad Leaves

Standing on my doorstep, waiting for an eternity for 7 year old Sprout and 4 year old Big Boy to get out the house to school, I noticed a welcome weed in with my struggling Lollo Rosso lettuce leaves - Hairy Bittercress.

Hairy Bittercress, or Cardamine Hirsuta, is a member of the mustard family.  And as you might expect from this, and it's watercress like appearance and name, it is slightly peppery and, well, bitter. Like adding herbs to salads, a little Hairy Bittercress added to a salad will give it a peppery tang every few mouthfuls.

So I'm going to harvest mine with the few lettuce leaves that survived the snow. And as Richard Mabey's Food for Free decribes it as "common and widespread...the leaves can be picked most months of the year" I don't think I'll have any problem finding any when my struggling lettuces have enough leaves to gather again. 

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