Wild Weeds

By Lauren Nixon

When weeds become too wild, too unruly, too demanding, human beings tend to uproot them. As a woman who farms and gardens, I’m all too familiar with spending days upon days ripping up weeds as the heat from the sun cradles every inch of my body. It’s arduous and time consuming, but it’s a task that has to be taken care of. At the end of the day, I’ll gather the weeds and pile them into a compost heap, more than excited to rid myself of them.

Weeds have a bad reputation. They get in the way of the “real” things that we’re growing. But the truth is that they’re nutritional powerhouses with complex flavor profiles and interesting histories. Over the past few years, I’ve embraced the wild weeds. Instead of discarding them, I take them home, research their healing properties, and happily cook with them.

The weeds in our lives also get a bad rap. We tend to celebrate those parts of ourselves that are the most attractive, the least messy. Perhaps we highlight our sense of humor, or the degree that we just received, the new romantic relationship, the promotion. But our identities are bubbling over with so much more.

The wildness is there, burrowing inside of us—the rage, the fear, the insecurity, the sensuality, the myriad of other emotions and feelings that we attempt to omit from the glossy, clean versions of ourselves that we present to the world.

I dare you to filter out the notion that your weeds are too wild—that they’re unnecessary, embarrassing and shameful. I ask you to pause and think about how your weeds can be educational tools, guides, sisters, allies and a part of your everyday narrative. I urge you to celebrate your light and your darkness, and everything in between.

Wild Greens Frittata

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1 tbsp coconut oil (plus 1 tsp for coating baking dish)

3 c wild greens (I used wild dandelion greens and wild plantain greens, but purslane, amaranth, lambsquarters, sorrel, and chickweed are all fairly common wild greens and fairly easy to procure depending on your location) / -2 spring onions or scallions (the firm white stems only, sliced thinly)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

A few pinches of salt to taste

A dash of pepper

Note: Do your research before foraging wild food. Additionally, forage from areas that are clean and a good distance away from the walking paths of humans and domestic animals. Not all wild plants are fit for human consumption. Many wild greens are sold at farmers markets and your local farmer can give you more information on how to use them.

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs thoroughly and add a pinch of salt. Set eggs aside.  Melt coconut oil on the stove on low heat and add minced garlic, spring onions, and a dash of salt and pepper. When garlic and onion are fragrant, add greens and cook until greens are wilted. Use coconut oil to coat a shallow baking dish. Pour eggs into the baking dish followed by warm vegetables. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until frittata is firm. Cool before slicing.  

PHOTO: SOPHIE SARKAR

PHOTO: SOPHIE SARKAR

Lauren Nixon is a Food and Wellness Educator who guides youth and adults in creating healthy, nourishing relationships with local, sustainable food through cooking instruction and educational workshops. She has had the pleasure of working with sustainable food and environmental education organizations including FoodCorps, Urban Nutrition Initiative, Raices Eco Culture Micro Farm, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Hidden Villa, and many more. Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenNNixon or at www.laurennixon.com

 

Read Lauren's article on finding spirit in Issue 003: Spirituality, on healing in nature in Issue 002: Death and Transition, and on growth through ritual in Issue 001: Growth.