Foraging Finds, Week Ending 7/15/2018

I had a very long post planned for today, but my writing time has been overcome by events. Rather than showcase all the various wild edibles ready now, or soon, I am going to showcase one singular weed: yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus).

Yellow Nutsedge, Nutgrass, Chufa ... the weed of many names!
Yellow Nutsedge, Nutgrass, Chufa … the weed of many names!

(By the way, I don’t know if that is pronounced “nut’s edge” or “nut sedge”.)

Nutsedge, like yellow salsify, is one of those weeds I couldn’t recognize until I saw its distinctive summer flowers.  It is also known as “nutgrass” and “chufa”, and elsewhere in the world it is actually grown as a crop. Locally, it is considered a weed of such a malicious nature that it has its own specially formulated pesticide.

The edible part of the nutsedge is the tuber.  The tuber is variously called “earth almond” or “tiger nut”, in reference to its nutty flavor. Nutsedge tubers can be eaten, roasted and ground into coffee substitute, or used to make a horchata drink.

If humans played the role of a ‘keystone’ species, and interacted with their ecosystem, we could control our local “weed” nutsedge without the use of pesticides that accidentally poison, well, everything else in the environment. I know that’s what I plan on doing with the nutsedge growing in my own yard later this year!

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