Blessed Milk Thistle:
* The garden is full of milk thistle. Milk thistle is known to be a powerful liver tonic. A chemical that is concentrated in the seeds heals and strengthens liver cells and also encourages new cellular growth which is good for all kinds of conditions. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the whole plant is edible and yummy! The older leaves have barbs along the edges, but these soften and disappear when you cook it. The young leaves barely have any barbs and are sweet and crunchy. Also the roots are edible. I’ve been eating milk thistle every day since I discovered this. I’m drying some of the bigger plants now to use for tea. I hope some of you will come by the garden and get some of the plant to try for yourselves. Also look it up, its medicinal properties are fascinating.
** As a food, milk thistle is totally edible like Andrea states in her above comment: The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered or par-boiled and roasted. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled and buttered. The spiny bracts on the flower head were eaten in the past like globe artichoke, and the stems (after peeling) can be soaked overnight to remove bitterness and then stewed. The leaves can be trimmed of prickles and boiled and make a good spinach substitute or they can also be added raw to salads. The leaves taste like a cross between spinach and romaine lettuce- a greeny, earthy, just slightest bit bitter, that works as a perfect accompaniment to a vegetable salad. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silybum_marianum
*** This species is a relatively new and highly invasive plant. It has taken over the garden in just a few years and can be spread by wind or in soil removed from the site. http://www.saanich.ca/…/pdf/invasive/blessed-alert-web.pdf
* Andrea Macdonald’s post on Spring Ridge Commons’ Facebook page on Nov 6.
** Spring Ridge Commons’ post on Spring Ridge Commons Facebook page on Nov 6.
*** Carnahan Todd’s post on Spring Ridge Commons Facebook page on Nov 6.