“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.
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup kefir (or milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
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?
(Note: Always be sure of what you are collecting! Here is a resource for identifying henbit. This one seems pretty safe because the mail plant you would possibly confuse it with is also edible!)