Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Shamrock or not?
“Top of the mornin’ to ya!” and “By gosh and be gora” have a wonderful St. Patty’s Day! I may be part Irish but I am all American, as those phrases really are! But it IS St. Patricks day and that makes me think of Shamrocks and all things green.
Shamrock is a kind of slurred pronunciation of the Irish word seamrog, meaning little clover. It’s really White Clover also known as trifolium repens.
It was the Celtic druids who started the shamrock on its path to Irish glory! They believed the number 3 to be a perfect number and, as such, to have inherent mystical powers. No one is quite sure why they believed this but it is possible the number signified the totality of the past, present and future, or sky, earth and underground. Whatever the reason, the Celts attached great significance to the number. It’s also known to have represented the rebirth of Spring and later became Ireland’s national symbol of pride.
White clover is considered a beneficial plant to organic lawn care because it fixes nitrogren. Simply put, it keeps your soil in better shape than your lawn does. White clover is an excellent forage crop for livestock and is considered survival food due to it’s high protein and abundance.
White and red clover are both nutritious and highly edible. The flowers are full of protein and can be dried to make nutritious flour. Flower heads should be soaked in salty water for a few hours or briefly boiled or cooked for easier digestion. Soft and fresh flower heads are great stir fried, sautéed, or lightly battered in tempura.
Eat Your Weeds -White Clover Recipes
Wild Clover Rice
2 cups rice, brown or wild
2 cups fresh clover flowerettes, plucked from the flowerheads
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1. Cook rice in 6 cups water until done
2. While the rice is still hot, mix in clover flowers, butter and salt
3. Serve hot
* Add a 1/2 cup honey and chopped nuts to make a sweet dish
2 cups rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
6 scallions, minced
1 cup walnuts (black, hickory, or English)
1 cup chopped dried fruit (try raisins, craisins, dates, or apricots)
2 cups clover flowerettes, plucked from flowerheads
1. Cook rice in 6 cups water until done– do not stir while cooking or cooling
2. Let rice cool completely to avoid stickiness
3. Add all above ingredients and mix well
4. Chill and serve, cold or room temperature
Sweet Almond Clover Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups clover flowerettes, plucked from the flowerhead
1. Put flour, baking powder, and almonds in food processor.
2. Add butter and whiz again until it forms a crumbly mixture
3. Add remaining ingredients until dough forms a lump
4. Shape into biscuits and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 450 for
10-15 minutes or until golden brown
5. Serve hot with butter and jam
* Please do NOT consume weeds that have been sprayed with herbicides such as weed and feed
Another plant closely associated with the shamrock is Oxalis.
For today, I’ll believe in shamrocks and leprechauns with pots of gold at the end of some distant rainbow, hoping some deserving soul will find it! What say we all have a little Irish fun today and ward off some evil with a shamrock or two!