We have this stubborn patch of alfalfa growing by our patio, and I figured I would put it to good use this year and juice it. Checking around the internet, I've learned that alfalfa is very nutritious, full of minerals to help things such as joint pain and hair loss, and the name 'alfalfa' means either 'king' or 'queen of all plants' (two different sources!).
I plan to pull up as much alfalfa as I can, and cut what I can't pull, rinse it well, and juice it with my vitamix by tearing it up, flowers and all, and tossing it in the container with enough water to blend and then straining it with a nut milk bag. Then I plan to pour the juice into little individual yogurt cups and freeze it for winter (I was going to use ice cube trays, but I actually don't have any, and happen to have an abundance of yogurt cups to be used next year as seedling pots!). The juice might degrade due to being frozen in plastic, and the fact that it's being frozen, but come winter, I'm sure I'll be relishing the green goodness!
Now, this got me thinking about doing the same with other weeds in the garden. We have a bumper crop of Western Salsify (which is yellow-flowered) this year, and I've been leaving it because I want to harvest the roots come autumn, but they're seeding right now and the close-minded neighbour is starting to give me tight-lipped looks, so I need to do something about them now. Has anyone had any experience juicing salsify, or other yard weeds, for that matter? I've been searching this forum and the internet for any info on juicing salsify, but haven't come across much - they are used for their roots, though common (blue-flowered) salsify appears to be eaten leaves and all. In any case, I need to at least lop off the seeding heads of the plants, whether I juice them or not!
If anyone has experience with juicing weeds, I'd love to hear about it!
Red clover and white clover are pretty easy to find wild as well and are very similar in taste and nutrition to alfalfa. Mr Raw put me on to juicing thistles. I will juice just about any kind of tall grasses and even lawn clippings in a pinch. Don't forget about dandelions. Another weed that is easy to find just about anywhere, here in the states is garlic mustard but it is past it prime where I live this year.
I juice all sorts of weeds, but I've never juiced salsify. The only weeds I have in my yard are red and white clover, dandelion, plantain, and a little oxalis/wood sorrel. If you have some forest anywhere near you, though, there's bound to be more weeds then you can manage to juice. Even in cities there can be huge weed patches in abandoned areas, you just have to be sure that they're free of chemicals.
In short, don't limit yourself to just salsify and alfafa. There's a whole world of weeds waiting out there! I'd suggest getting a good book on foraging (your local library should have some if you don't want to spend the money, although I would) and learning to identify some of the more common weeds in your area.
I wouldn't freeze juice, but if there's more then you can possibly drink now then I guess it's okay.
Gather the seeds and sprout them during the winter for some fresh food. Weed sprouts are some of the absolute best things you can possibly eat, other then grasses. If you could gather the seeds from the alfafa as well, that would be even better.
In any case, I need to at least lop off the seeding heads of the plants, whether I juice them or not!
I've been juicing it like crazy, but now it's past its prime like you said. I'm still juicing it, but I somehow managed to completely miss when it set seeded. I had been hoping to collect lots of seeds and try my hand at sprouting them - probably on soil, virtually all mustards are mucilaginous. The only one that I know of that isn't it oriental mustard. At least I got a bunch of the flowers, though, that partially makes up for it.
Another weed that is easy to find just about anywhere, here in the states is garlic mustard but it is past it prime where I live this year.
What I love about garlic mustard is that it is essentially a full-year crop...new seedlings started poking up a few weeks ago and I' already starting to harvest them too. Garlic mustard is one of the few weeds in my area that you can harvest even in the dead of winter.
Thanks for your replies, delmar and Living Food!
So, I spent about 3 hours yesterday gathering, washing, and juicing salsify. And I still have a huge garbage full of it, waiting to be juiced! Here's what I did: pulled the plants up, roots and all, then trimmed off the roots, then washed the plant parts in my bath tub, then chopped up batches into smallish pieces, put these in the vita-mix with some water, blended, and strained with a nut milk bag. I poured the juice (made about 2 litres so far) into freezer ziplock bags and put them in the deep freeze.
Oh, and for anyone curious - the taste? Well, I'm pleasantly surprised! It's not bitter, and actually has a nice flavour. Though, of course, by juicing with the vita-mix, the juice is watered down because of the water I have to add to blend up the greens. Come winter, I'll make up some fresh apple juice and add a bag of salsify juice with it!
Hooray to yummy weeds! But if only it wasn't so time-intensive! But next time I won't gather so much salsify at once; I mean, it's not like it's going to disappear any time soon! ;)
Thought I'd update: today I was pulling weeds from the garden (they've been rampant due to the unusual amount of rain we've been getting) and decided to use them in my green smoothie. The weeds were mostly small lambsquarters, about 2 or 3 inches tall, and I washed them and added them to the blender roots and all, along with some ripe bananas. The smoothie turned out this gorgeous bright green colour, and it was drinkable, though next time I'll add more banana (6 instead of 4, methinks). I had tried making a smoothie out of my salsify, but it ended up very stringy (so that my smoothie had a rather unpleasant texture), so salsify I figure is better for juicing. I also have a healthy crop of purslane growing (where did it come from? I didn't have any last year!) so I'll leave it for now until it gets bigger, but looking forward to using it; I think it has a bit of a pea-flavour.
Hmm, speaking of peas, maybe I should be saving my pea pods for making smoothies, too....
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