• July 2010
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Mallow: another edible weed.

Mallow is next on the menu of edible weeds. The leaves are shapely and large, looking something like the geranium. In some parts of the country they grow as big as soup plates. Wild mallow grows anywhere, in yards, vacant lots, and beside the freeways here in California. I guess I should open my car door and have a snack the next time I am stuck in traffic.

Mallow leaves, crushed or blended, are a treatment for rashes and burns. One of the students said she chewed up a leaf and used it for an emergency poultice while hiking.

There is a story about the siege of Jerusalem during the War of Independence in 1948. Food supplies to the city were cut off. Mallow was an important source of nutrition to the imprisoned population then. The leaves were gathered, chopped fine and fried as patties or eaten raw. The seedpods were collected to be eaten raw or cooked. People who survived the siege will serve mallow patties, or stuff the leaves like cabbage rolls, on Israeli Independence Day, to commemorate that time. Here in class the mallow was merely chopped up and added to the wok. Hot olive oil and garlic will make anything taste good.