Monday, May 02, 2005

Roadside vitamins

“What are all those white flowers along the road – every road?!” someone asked.

Twenty-five years ago, Garlic Mustard was an occasionally seen import that few knew. Today, the weed has spread to the point where plant conservationists are alarmed. These alien invaders are overcoming native species, and efforts have been organized to do them in. The most basic technique is to pull them up -- they have a tiny root system and are easy to yank.

But we have another suggestion: Eat them! In its native England, Garlic Mustard has long been a food. In fact, that's how it probably got here; Virginia settlers were using it by 1700. The garlicky leaves are used as vegetables and salad greens. Old World farmers found them so flavorful, they filled sandwiches with them.

What’s more, this tasty pest is good for you. Garlic Mustard leaves have more than twice the vitamin A of spinach and 20 times more than tomatoes. They also have nearly four times the vitamin C of oranges and nine times that of tomatoes.

So why waste a good weed?

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