There has been much that has been left to run wild and free with the arrival of the twins. There are piles of already too small clothes that need to be stored, laundry that has decided to live on all but one of the seats in the living room, and a lack of weeding here and there about the yard and the driveway that makes my eye twitch. None of these are actually bad, and seasons are meant to be like this. Nursing babes is the top project these days and I couldn’t be happier to let the driveway go to weeds for such a time as this.
But those weeds. They’re more than meets the eye. It’s a gentle gift—this year as I look out and see my driveway return to the flora and fauna of its prehistoric dreams—that I also discover that there’s a bit of prize to be found for those who weed not. (“Weed not, want not”? Might have stumbled upon something here.) I’d passed it by, trampled it, and weeded away this sweet little weed. The Pineapple Weed. Well technically Matricaria discoidea. A member of the chamomile family, with a distinctly sweet pineapple scent when pinched, this little treat thrives where the going gets tough. Like hard compacted gravel drive tough. Give it a crack in concrete, the tough edge of a gravel drive and it still remains sweet and stubbornly steadfast. (I like this personality already. See what I mean about being a gentle gift, this year that I find all my hands full of so many good things, compressing me for time and energy?)
Alongside my “weeded” (meaning: weed -full) driveway is the now only half-mowed yard in which the Pickles discovered wild strawberries in abundance and have requested that all mowing cease until they come to fruition So I’m a double whammy of looking a mite abandoned and neglected around here.
Happy. It’s purposely neglected, dear neighbors and random passer-bys and rubber-neckers. We shall mow again. But for right now, we’re blooming in the concrete, finding delight in the grit of gravel, and savoring a bit of sweet in the midst.
Field notes, not a tutorial:
(Obvious and yet necessary disclaimer—only eat what you know for certain. Learn and ask questions and proceed in your foraging or creative endeavors with abundant caution. I think “If in doubt, don’t” applies well here.)
So what did we actually do with our Pineapple Weed? We clipped a big bowl full (many Pickles’ hands make light work, and all that jazz, or something), and then I trimmed the flower heads. Leaves are also edible, we read, but can lend a more bitter flavor. Just not in that mood, so we went straight for sweet and composted the leaves after trimming.
Washed and patted dry about a cup of blooms. Made a simple syrup situation, though there is nothing simple about a ratio of 7.5 cups of sugar to 7 cups of water-whatwasithinking?? I don’t know, but we rolled with it. Almost rolling boil, that is But really just a strong simmer. Oh and I added a quarter cup of lemon juice in there, too
The goal was to boil down to about half of the original volume. I think we made it to a third in an hour. And then someone (or two) needed to nurse and someone needed a ride home from work and well…so there we had it. It still thickened beautifully. Once removed from the heat, I added the blooms and they weren’t strained out until the whole pot had cooled completely.
So did we make an actual cordial or are we still just tipping the definition scale at “syrup”? This is why I don’t write the tutorials. I write about our musings. And why weeding evades us. And the chance that my driveway will also never end growing these for years to come because, “Fun over function” or “Food over lawns” or something like that. Feeding creativity, most likely.
But Pineapple Weed cordial/syrup/stuff in a glass of sparkling water made a sweet “soda” treat that was just what we needed, the flavor being just what summer should be: Sunshiny and calm with a grin of pineapple to make your heart beat childlike again. A reminder that the beauty that comes from hard is some of the best.
What have you found in the hard?
be creative today, friends.