Today's culinary revelation: Pineapple weed.
You've probably seen this little guy all over by the side of the road, the trail, and in dusty fields. Indians used to use the dried flower heads as beads. But did you know it's also completely edible?
The flowers (that weird cone thing is indeed a flower) and leaves not only give off a pineapple scent when crushed, but have an amazing flavor as well! Herbal, yet fruity, it makes a great snack food while enjoying nature. Last night's salads featured chicory and dandelion leaves and about a tablespoon of diced pineapple weed. I guess it also makes good tea, although we haven't tried that yet.
You want to be aware of anyone using a pesticide near or in the fields where you harvest, but give this one a try. It's tasty and good for you!
If you pull the smaller, still green heads pineapple weed makes a soothing tea. Simply place 6-8 fresh heads or 1 TB dried heads in a tea ball or strainer and add steaming, not boiling, water, let steep for at least 10 minutes covered. Pineapple weed aids with sleep, stress, and anxiety. The cooled tea also makes a refreshing toner for those with skin issues due to its analgesic qualities.
As with other field greens, sustained daytime temps of 80 degrees or more will bring out bitterness. This is best enjoyed in the spring, or if you have cooler summers. Also, remember when harvesting to take only what you need, so that the patch can continue to flourish. Happy hunting!