The Pigweed is Seeding

This has been a busy summer and some things just got neglected. We have a new gardener

Amaranth, cooked

Amaranth, cooked (Photo credit: Eugenia Loli)

in the Community garden who neglected a plot, and I neglected the gardener. One never can tell what struggles another might be facing, so I cannot be angry about the state of the plot. However, the pigweed is seeding.

The saying is “one year of seeding equals seven years of weeding”.  Sounds like breaking a mirror, with seven years bad luck! Frankly, due to careful weeding in the last two years I felt we were finally getting a handle on it. One 10 x 10′ weed patch is about to put an end to that once comforting idea.

If this were a dream, what would it mean? Pigweed has been in my face all summer and mentioned in several other posts I have written. I have sauteed a little and made a few batches of pigweed chips, but I have not made this a staple in my diet. If I had, the pigweed would not be seeding.

Pigweed is one of those nutritious plants that could help ease world hunger and malnutrition. It is eaten in many cultures all over the globe, including our past Native Americans. There is a misunderstanding going about the internet that says pigweed is poisonous. Many sources say correctly that pigweed accumulates nitrates in the leaves, but then go on to say nitrates are poisonous and so is pigweed.  It is true that the nitrates are changed to nitrites in a two-stomached cow, and while this is toxic to the cow it doesn’t hurt us. However, if still concerned, just eat the young leaves. The older leaves just before the plant seeds contains the most nitrates.

Like most greens, it contains a compound that can contribute to kidney stones. This can be minimized by boiling it and throwing out the water before sauteing  for food.

I had a dream this summer that said “Eat More Weeds”! This was in response to my concerns about a health issue. I wonder if my slowness to readily incorporate them into my diet may be due to a little residual resistance to curing the disease? If so, it is time to get over that and follow the advice of my dream doctor.

I have seen recipes for sauteing young pigweed with a little olive oil and garlic to make a sauce over pasta, recipes that suggest cooking it with coconut flakes and chili pepper, and some that say it is best with only a little soy sauce. I have also seen suggestions to sprout the seeds for tasty additions to salads. There will be enough seeds to try that out this fall. I guess I shouldn’t look this gift horse in the mouth. Go ahead, eat more weeds!

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