The coming of spring also means the coming of weeds. Some pretend that a weed is just a plant growing where it isn’t wanted. True, I planted wasabi arugula last year, eager to try a full range of mustard family greens, excited for their possibilities (Matthew 17:20). Yet this spring, I am witnessing first-hand the power of wind-blown seeds. Those dainty, flour-petaled cruciform arugula flowers bloomed so lovely and brightened our bed of “bitter herbs,” all the while their seeds spreading everywhere in my garden. Now the garden is wild with mustard relatives!
But here’s an idea for unwanted weedlings: Brassica Broth, a delicious ingredient for a Spring Barley side dish.
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. Ruth 1:22 NIV
In addition to weeds, barley also marks spring’s arrival, a cool season annual harvested in the Holy Land beginning in April and a healthy, hearty side dish for dinner. After a day spent weeding in the cool spring air, enjoy a laugh on the bounty of weeds by enriching a meal with the edible ones!
Spring Barley with Brassica Broth
For Brassica Broth:
10 c. Arugula greens, chopped—
or any combination of greens from the Crucifers or Brassicas: Kale, Chard, Mustard, Beets, Broccoli leaves, as well as dandelion leaves Always cooking up plants free of pesticides and herbicides
16 c. Water
1 Leek, sliced
1 Onion, coarsely chopped
3 Bay Leaves
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 T. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Quaker Medium Pearled Barley or similar barley product
In a large stock pot, add greens, leek, onion and bay leaves to water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered.
To prepare barley, use a medium pot to sauté garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add enough barley for desired servings according to package directions, substituting Brassica Broth for water. Cook according to package directions.
When barley is ready, stir in ½ to 1-1/2 cup cooked greens and salt and pepper to taste.
Save remaining broth; freeze what you won’t use in the coming week. Brassica Broth can be substituted wherever chicken broth is called for.
Cooked greens are delicious by themselves or in soups, rice dishes, burritos or in place of spinach on pizza.
Arugula greens rinsed and ready © 2014 Shelley S. Cramm
Cooked Barley with Greens © 2014 Shelley S. Cramm