Spiny Sow Thistle

Here’s another edible and medicinal plant for you.
This is a new plant to me. At first I thought a thistle and a dandelion had cross pollinated. That’s what it looks like! I’ve learned since its actually called a Spiny Sow Thistle. It’s edible and has medicinal properties which make it even better! Here’s some info I’ve gathered, but like always be sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before consuming. I’ll be posting about Caledula next week.

Spiny Sow Thistle-

Identifying the different sow thistle:
The three common ones areSonchus oleraceus, (SON-kus oh-ler-AY-see-us ) Sonchus Asper (SON-kus ASS-pur) and Sonchus arvensis (SON-kus ar-VEN-sis.) They are respectfully the common sow thistle, the spiny sow thistle and the field sow thistle. The Oleraceus has green leaves with a bit of blue, Delta- arrow-shaped end lobes and distinctly pointed lobes where it clasps the stem. The asper has spiny round lobes where it clasps the stem. It also has a lot of spines. It’s the one that can require trimming. The arvensis has more lance shaped leaves, lobes can be irregular, and soft small spines. It is the softest of the three with a tactile feel closer to a wild lettuce.

Best way to eat.
Young sow thistles can just be tossed in the herb pot, where as some older leaves need to be trimmed of the thistles, which is a point of culinary departure. Really old leaves are bitter and not that much fun to eat even if they are edible. When young their flavor resembles lettuce and as they age more like Swiss chard. When old they are just bitter. I try to harvest them between four and 12 inches high. The young stalks peel and cooked are excellent, too. The young root is also edible when cooked but tends to be woody.

Recipes:
BUTTERED SOW-THISTLE

1 or 2 handfuls sow-thistle leaves – young

Butter or oil

Beef stock or water

Ground nutmeg – pinch

1 tsp. flour

Salt and pepper

For this recipe the young 2- to 4-inch leaves of common sow-thistle

Heat some butter or oil in a pan and add the leaves. Stir thoroughly to

coat the leaves. Add a good slug of stock or water, reduce the heat to a

simmer and cover. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg,

the flour and some seasoning. Stir everything, then add another knob of

butter and melt into the sow-thistle over a low heat.

Serve.

STIR-FRIED SOW-THISTLE & PORK

½-1 cup pork meat – shredded / sliced

Light soy sauce

Corn flour – pinch

Water

White wine or dry sherry

Sugar – pinch

Salt and pepper

Sows thistles

Begin by slicing the meat into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/10th inch thick. Set aside. Next, make up a marinade from the remainder of the first group of ingredients, using a splash of soy sauce, slugs of water and wine, seasoning and pinches of corn flour and sugar. Mix together well in a bowl and then add the sliced meat. Stir thoroughly so that all the pieces are

coated and leave for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the ginger for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent burning, then add the spring onion. Stir for a minute, then add the meat. Stir-fry until the meat begins to cook. Add the sow-thistle leaves and continue frying for another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning and distribute the heat

Medicinal uses:

The plant is emmenagogue and hepatic. An infusion has been used to bring on a tardy menstruation and to treat diarrhoea. The latex in the sap is used in the treatment of warts. It is also said to have anticancer activity. The stem juice is a powerful hydrogogue and cathartic, it should be used with great caution since it can cause colic and tenesmus. The gum has been used as a cure for the opium habit. The leaves are applied as a poultice to inflammatory swellings. An infusion of the leaves and roots is febrifuge and tonic.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason

Advertisements