One of the many advantages that the country dweller has over those who live in the city is the great variety of "greens," as we call the edible weeds, nearly all of which are superior in flavor to the much prized spinach.
There is narrow or sour dock, easily distinguished from the broad-leaved (which is not edible) by its long, slender leaf curled on the edges; the dandelion, which should be gathered before the buds appear or at least when they are just peeping out, as the greens are bitter when the buds are well developed; milkweed, of which we use only the tips unless the stalks are small and tender: pigweed, red root, lamb's quarters, purslane or "pusley, " with poke shoots, the garden turnip tops, cabbage sprouts young beet tops and endive.
Some are better in combinations, such as milkweed and narrow dock, narrow dock and pigweed, milkweed and purslane and purslane and beet tops.
Do not try to wash greens in a small quantity of water. Put them when first gathered into a large vessel, a wash boiler, a tub or a deep sink in which the water will be deep enough to "swash" them up and down with the hands. When they are thoroughly revived lift them from the water (do not drain the water off), empty the vessel, rinse it well and take another quantity of water. Continue the washing, changing the water until no sand is found in the bottom of the vessel.
Dandelion and some other greens require trimming and looking over carefully after reviving before the final washing.
When ready to cook, throw greens into an abundance of boiling salted water and cook until tender.
The time required for cooking varies; narrow dock requires 20 m., purslane a little longer, pigweed 40 m., milkweed 2-3 hours, beet greens 2 1/2 - 3 hours, and dandelions 3 1/2 - 4 hours. It is a good plan to parboil dandelions.
When greens are perfectly tender, lift them carefully with a skimmer from the water into a colander and press with a plate until as dry as possible.
The water from all greens (except dandelion if at all bitter and too large a quantity of narrow dock) is invaluable for soup stock, so pour it off carefully from the sand that may be in the bottom of the kettle even after the most careful washing.
When the leaves are long and stringy it is well to cut across the mass of greens a few times before serving, but the flavor and character are much impaired by too fine chopping.
Scoke-pigeon berry weed, and young, tender milkweed stalks may be prepared and served the same as asparagus. Do not use poke shoots after the leaves begin to unfold.
Canned greens make as valuable an addition to the winter supplies as canned corn or peas.
Borecole, should not be used until after heavy frosts in the fall. Cook as other greens in boiling salted water 30-45 m. and serve the same. If desired, raw nut butter may be added to the water in which it is cooked; then lemon juice only will be required with it. It may also be cooked with tomato, the same as cabbage, by being chopped or cut fine before cooking. Onion and raw nut butter may be added to the tomato.
Use only young, tender pods, cut off the stems, wash well and cook in a small quantity of salted water (about 1 cup to each quart of okra) for 30 m. or until tender. Season with cream, dairy or almond, or with butter. Or, drain if any water remains, and pour over it a hot French dressing. Melted butter may be used in the dressing instead of oil.
Never cook okra in an iron vessel.
Stewed Slice pods of okra across and cook with 1 cup of salted water to each pint of okra until tender, 25-30 m. Drain or not, according to what is to be added. Stewed tomatoes, strained or unstrained, almond or dairy cream, sauce 16, 18, 19, or 34, or hot French dressing may be poured over it. When strained tomatoes are used, the okra and tomato should simmer together about 10 m. Add a little heavy cream, butter or oil and salt just before serving.