Country Diary: Nutritional value of pesky garden weed
At the closing of January, several ‘spring’ flowers were in bloom – even a couple of hyacinths in the border. Beside garden walls were short stalks of the well-known ‘weed’, shepherd’s purse’. At the tips bloomed tiny, four-petalled white flowers. Down the stem were many heart-shaped seed cases. These remind one of the purses, or pouches hung from belts in the olden days, and especially worn by shepherds. At ground level is a rosette of pale green leaves. They contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, sodium and sulphur, and make a rather spicy vegetable. Their aromatic flavour resembles cress, and if chopped may be placed in sandwiches and salads. Dried leaves make a peppery flavouring for soups and stews. So – if it’s a garden pest and you can’t beat it – eat it!