Weeds. Everyone has them in their yard – they can be annoying, hard to get rid of, painful (in the case of poison ivy or stinging nettles!), and even poisonous! But really, a weed is just a plant out of place! Many weeds are not only healthy, but healing! For example, comfrey is known as the “bone heal” plant – it is incredibly potent and can heal bones, lacerations, and skin conditions much better than many manmade products.
If you are looking for information on foraging for medicinal herbs, I highly recommend The Forager’s Harvest!
Our backyard has been taken over by henbit and dandelions right now. Henbit is a winter annual, but it is part of the mint family and spreads like crazy. It has a square stem (like all mints) and has leaves that look very similar to mint leaves. Henbit is also used as an herbal remedy, as an anti-rheumatic, diaphoretic (sweat inducer), excitant, febrifuge (fever reducer), laxative and stimulant, according to naturalmedicinalherbs.net. It grows little purple flowers, and is an edible herb that tastes little like raw kale. It has a taste that is difficult to describe – pleasant, fresh, green, and you can definitely taste its “mint family”. It can be eaten raw or cooked. We have been feeding it to our rabbits abundantly because we have so much of it!
We decided to take advantage of this free abundance and make some henbit johnnycakes this week, which turned out to be surprisingly delicious! (Of course – never, ever, ever eat a plant that you can’t identify and aren’t 100% positive of its identification!!!) We don’t usually use cornmeal (being Paleo and all…) but I had some cornmeal left from this weekend, when I made a pan of cornbread for my little sister (to go with her delicious red beans and rice!), so I decided to just go ahead and use it up.
Hubby has been using the leftovers as “sandwiches” for his bacon, egg, and cheese in the mornings, but they were very flavorful on their own with butter melted on them! So if you have an abundance of henbit and want to try foraging and making these johnnycakes, you can enjoy them for any meal of the day! If you don’t have henbit, you can use any greens that you enjoy (I bet collards would be delicious!).
I suspect you could use blanched almond flour and obtain the same results in this recipe, but I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, let me know how it is!
1 cup organic cornmeal (or try blanched almond flour!)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 cup whole milk (use raw!!!)
1 pastured egg
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon coconut oil or melted butter
1 cup chopped henbit leaves (pick off the stems, they are very woody)
Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl or large pourable measuring cup (to make it easy to pour into your pan!). Mix the egg, milk, and oil/butter together in another bowl and then pour into the dry ingredients. Whisk together until it forms a smooth batter, then fold in your chopped henbit. It should be a somewhat thin batter, able to pour easily.
Heat your skillet to medium heat, add a small amount of coconut oil and swish around the pan so it coats it. You can test the heat by pouring a small drop of batter on it and if it immediately begins to bubble and cook, you are ready to begin!
Pour some batter into the skillet (its just like a pancake!) and let it cook for a couple minutes, until bubbles begin to form on the uncooked surface and the batter has created a pancake on the underside.
(I’m not the best flipper…) Flip to the other side and cook for a couple minutes until sufficiently browned and beautiful, then slide onto a plate and slather with butter!
Continue with the rest of the batter, adjusting the heat as necessary, and adding a small dollop of coconut butter to the pan between each johnnycake and coating the pan so it doesn’t stick.
These would be delicious with some raw honey and butter, fresh preserves, or a couple fried eggs, bacon, and cheese like a breakfast pizza!