I've heard that the young shoots of rose bay willow herb can be eaten, and even make an acceptable substitute for asparagus. That sounded like a bold claim to me, but I tried eating some of the leaves when they first appeared, which I think was in January. They certainly didn't taste of asparagus. In fact, they tasted of nothing very much, so I didn't bother with them again.
Then looking at some of these plants that are putting on growth spurts all over my garden...
... I wondered if, like asparagus, it's the stems that should be eaten. I gathered some plants, stripping off leaves and roots for the compost heap, until I had a reasonable quantity for a meal.
In retrospect, perhaps I didn't need quite so many, just to taste them. I steamed them for five minutes or so, as I would asparagus, and served with mayonnaise. The best thing that can be said about that meal is that home-made mayonnaise is very nice.
The root end was woody and the growing tip bitter. There was a palatable bit in the middle, but even that was surrounded by a thick, tough skin. I can't imagine why anyone would want to eat this stuff. I guess it wasn't the stems, then, that people are referring to when they say the shoots are edible.
About this blog
- Wales, United Kingdom
- In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.