Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Soltice

Well, we have had our longest day with a heat wave that made us enjoy the sunlight behind glass while hugging the air conditioner. The view out my window is almost tropical as I watch the kudzu grow a foot a day with the vines reaching out to catch a leaf of a tree or twig or building that they will soon engulf. They create a living kind of sculpture hiding buildings and trees as they continue their quest for growth. They transform the landscape so quickly as summer comes. It truly is an amazement. Every winter they die back and disappear only to turn with abundance the next summer.

Not only is kudzu a transform of landscapes but it is a food. Yes, that is right you can eat it just make sure that when you pick or dig kudzu that it hasn't been treated with chemicals. Here are the eatable parts: Leaves- Having a mild "green" flavor and full of fiber, the tender leaves can be used like spinach, in salad, quiche or even chopped up and cooked like Poke Salet and Collards. The young kudzu shoots are great in a stir-fry, tasting similar to snow peas. The bigger leaves can be fried crispy or steeped in boiling water to make a delicious tea. Blossoms- The grape-smelling blossoms make delicious jelly, candy, and syrup or used to make a sweet homemade wine. OK. you can't eat the vines , but you can make baskets and wreathes out of them. You can bale them and fed to livestock or make a bale house out of them. Roots- kudzu's big bodacious starchy potato-like roots are full of protein, iron, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Most often the roots are made into a cooking starch used to coat foos to be fried and to thicken sauces and other liquids. I've been having fun collecting and creating recipes and it looks like it's time to start havesting my yard full of kudzu.

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