Did you get that lovely little shamrock plant for St. Patrick’s Day? Super! Now here is one way to use it – BUT a major caution first!
Don’t eat oxalis just purchased unless it is labeled “organic.” Plants that are ornamental (as opposed to vegetables) are very often treated with toxic insecticides and fungicides (biocides) that are systemic (throughout all plant tissues) and stay in the plants for around three months. Herbs and vegetable plants are not legally treated with systemic biocides because they are edibles.
Both leaves and flowers of oxalis are edible with a pleasing tartness. Flowers and leaves can be added to salads and soups for a zesty citrusy tang. Or capitalize upon this lemony flavor and puree leaves with fresh dill and a drizzle of olive oil to use on fish – delightful! The flavor of oxalis also works well to make a “lemon” chicken.
So far I have also mixed diced oxalis flowers and leaves into omelets, fritattas, potato salad, egg salad, and put it in “wraps” with cream cheese, turkey, or ham. A friend chops oxalis and adds it along with fresh oregano her home-made goat cheese.
These wraps good to make for a potluck or a party that calls for finger foods. All you need are some wrappers, something as a “holder-together, and some oxalis.
Wrappers can be flour tortillas or a gluten-free alternative. The holder-together can be cream cheese or a non-dairy substitute. Do make it something with a mild flavor so the zing of the oxalis can predominate.
Oxalis should be cut fresh, rinsed, and the stems trimmed off. If there are any seed pods, they should be removed as well because they can be stringy. Feel free to munch them if you wish, you just might not want to inflict them on guests. You need a great deal of oxalis, and if you run short, a mild chive can be added, or even micro-greens.
Smear the wrap with cream cheese, add the oxalis to one half and roll it up. Leave about half the tortilla uncovered by greens so the cheese will help it stick when wrapped – these are finger foods.
Slice into bite-sized chunks. If you slice on a diagonal it looks more elegant. This means you will have trimmings to eat or feed to the chickens.
Meat is just fine in these wraps, I made two plates of oxalis wraps for the party I went to – one vegetarian, one “meat-atarian.” The oxalis goes very well with milder flavored meats like turkey or chicken.
If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my lectures. Look for me at your local Pima County Library branch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press). [[Note -this is an Amazon link and if you purchase the book there I will get a few pennies.]]
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