Foraging Hairy Bittercress

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Hairy Bittercress is one of the first wild edible plants I taught myself from field guides. Its fairly easy to identify, even for a beginner. It’s delicious, peppery flavor (not bitter at all) made me fall in love with this common garden “weed.” Horticultural sources will warn you of this pervasive plant taking root in your garden, but I’ve always found them easy to pull out if I want to plant something else. But, why would you is another question, when you can just eat this tasty plant rather than planting plain, old lettuce or spinach.

Identification:

Stem: Green, sprawling out from the base in a rosette.

Leaves: Opposite along the stem with one at the end. Not quite round. Without a distinct shape to them.

Flowers: White with 5 tiny petals. Appear at the end of a flower stalk separate from the leaf stalk.

Habitat: It grows just fine in partial shade, under other plants, grass, or trees. It

Edible Uses:

Normally, I just eat this straight out of the garden, raw. However, it’s excellent added to a salad, as a garnish, or in a wrap or sandwich. ‘

It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and beta-carotine.

The roots are edible as well and used to make a sauce or dip that’s spicy, like horseradish.

Chances are good, if you live anywhere in the United States or even in Europe, you’ll find either Hairy Bittercress or Pennsylvania Bittercress (which looks similar). Its

Happy Foraging! Leave me a note with comments on how you use bittercress!

Bittercress Sauce

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Handful of Bittercress chopped
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 6 Wild Field Garlic Bulbs
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt a pinch or to taste
  • Pepper a pinch or to taste

Instructions

  • First heat a caste iron skillet or saucepan over very low heat. Add the onion and wild field garlic. Cook until soft.
  • Add the bittercress and increase heat to medium.
  • Wilt the bittercress. Add the salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy as a side with crackers, bread, meat, or veggies!
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