Thinking Outside the Garden

A couple of posts back I talked about edible “weeds” and plants in the wild that you can eat.

I came across one of these plants—cleavers— in my yard and thought I’d share a picture. Not sure if this will be enough for you to identify it. Consider looking up more photos. It’s bright green and the leaves are a little fuzzy. It’s not so good fresh—a little tough—but dried, it makes a tea high in vitamin C.

cleavers

Another non-garden food source: sprouts! We grew some wheat berry sprouts for our salads. They taste a little nutty. Sprouts are a superfood—and according to Wikipedia—are the most nutrient-dense food. But the claim is missing its citation. For shame! Anyway, they’re good for you and fun. I use the Easy Sprout Sprouter. My first attempt was with hulless barley. That was unsuccessful. They started smelling horrid because I wasn’t shaking enough of the water out after each rinse. You must shake vigorously. I have heard of, but not done much research on, making breads with sprouted wheat berries. I guess the heat does not damage all of the nutrients in that fragile little sprout? I will have to look into this because I don’t think we will be able to eat this entire batch of sprouts.

When wheat berries were first offered in the co-op, I was confused. What is a wheat berry? I have learned that a wheat berry is another term for the grain that develops from the grass we know as wheat. It’s the kernels in the ear. The ear is that spiky thing at the top of the stalk shown in those quintessential Americana photographs. Wheat berries are milled into flour. The wheat berry is made of the bran, endosperm, and germ. In white flour, the berries are milled and the germ is sifted out because it contains the unsaturated fat that can go rancid. White flour can more easily survive our food supply system.

So, it’s the seed, it’s the kernel, it’s the grain, it’s the wheat berry. I was very familiar with wheat berries—I just didn’t know them by name.

wheat berry sprouts

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