Henbit fritters, a delicious treat from the first greens of spring

henbit fritters“Mommy! Mommy! You should come out and try the honeysuckle. It is so good!”

“Yes, I’ve heard it’s delicious.”

I looked at Mouse, excitedly coaxing me outdoors. I had always wanted to try honeysuckle. So I gathered the children and followed them out the backdoor and up to the playground by the tiny church where we used to live.

“Um, this isn’t honeysuckle.”

She popped a little purple flower in her mouth before I could stop her. Bug and Bear followed her lead as I grabbed their hands and told them to stop.

“You never eat plants if you don’t know what they are.”

“But I do.”

“No, you don’t. You only think you do. I’ll show you a picture of honeysuckle. This isnt it.”

“But it tastes good.”

And such was my introduction to henbit, so called because chickens love it. And it is perfectly edible for humans as well, thankfully. Those little purple flowers are delightfully sweet and with my love of floral jellies, I’ve always wondered what a henbit jelly would taste like. But the flowers are awfully tiny and spaced too far apart for a convenient harvest.

So every spring, my girls sit down by the garden grazing on the tiny purple flowers and I wonder what else I could do with this first green of spring in bloom before even the dandelions.

This year I decided to do something besides wonder.  Instead, we gathered, rinsed and chopped then folded them into a simple batter for henbit fritters. And we served them with the redbud jelly I had just finished processing.

And everyone loved them.

Henbit fritters

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup kefir (or milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup diced henbit

Stir dry ingredients. Add liquids and stir until smooth. Fold in henbit and fry in butter. Serve with honey, syrup, jelly or whatever you like.

We are rather new to this whole wildcrafting thing and stick to the things I know or are not easily confused with other, less edible plants. Have you ever eaten wild foods? Or what would you like to try?

 


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10 Comments on "Henbit fritters, a delicious treat from the first greens of spring"

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Cindy
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Except for the occasional branch lettuce, wild onions, or dandelion greens, I’ve always been scared of wildcrafting. I’m sure there are some great books that could help me, but I don’t trust myself not to poison us. 😉

Dana
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Cindy, I feel sort of the same way. But when I found out that lilacs were edible? It opened a whole world of things that I already recognize! One of the things I look up when trying to identify a plant is whether or not there is anything it could be confused with. Like when I found out that elderberry can be confuses with hemlock, I decided to just not bother with that one even though I think there is quite a bit of it around us!

Sara
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I am into wildcrafting, but I’ve also spent a good deal of time in botany and learning to ID plants so I’m pretty confident with my IDs, and that’s usually the biggest problem with wildcrafting. We even forage for mushrooms, since our woods grow wild oysters and wood ears and both are delicious in stir fry. As far as plants, I happily eat dandelion greens, sorrel, burdock, nettles, violets, plantain, chickweed, yellow dock and thistle. I have tried a few others that are known to be edible, but I wouldn’t say they are very palatable. A good book to get… Read more »
Dana
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That’s so neat, Sara. I wish I knew someone I could go out with. I’ve been reading a lot about it but sticking to things I already know. Like roses. They tell me you can eat rose petals and I know a rose. 🙂 I was reading that accidental hemlock poisoning is increasing because people with no knowledge and no experience go out looking for Queen Anne’s lace and end up making hemlock jelly. Or there was a church function where they thought they were serving elderberry juice and it turned out to be hemlock! (Fortunately, no one got seriously… Read more »
Penny
Guest

For the fritters… Do you chop up the green part as well as the purple (flower) part? I’m assuming you use the green part, too.

Bubi
Guest

That’s a slick answer to a cahlleingng question

Dana
Guest

Yes, just chop it all up together. My girls eat most of the purple parts while we gather, but I guess that’s payment for helping! 🙂

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ForagedFoodie
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I love henbit and enjoy it all the time. It’s best pureed in the food processor, as it can be a bit stringy. I make it in pestos and soups and the like.

Anyway, be careful with the honeysuckle. While all native varieties are edible, there have been some introduced species which are toxic.