Ajuga and chives and dandelion wine — but not all together

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Ajuga, you ask?  That’s what I asked, just this morning when I went to a seminar on starting seeds given by a local farmer.  When we went outside to look at the cold frames, I noticed a purple ground cover that looked like it might be edible. 

Which brings us to the question: How do you know when a plant is edible?  If you don’t have a field guide handy, the best — the only — way is to taste it.  Crush it in your hand, smell it, and take a little bite.  If it tastes good, it’s probably fine to eat.  I’ve never heard of a plant that seemed edible, with a tender texture and delicate flavor, but was actually deadly.  I figure I’m risking a stomach ache, but nothing worse.

Felonious chive theft

Felonious chive theft

And so I tried the purple plant, and found it to be a little bitter but not too bad. I was later told that it was ajuga, and although I wouldn’t call it delicious, it was well within the realm of the edible.  Maybe I’ve been reading too much Euell Gibbons.

The chives, I wanted to top our lunch of salami and eggs, and so I stole them from the beach in Osterville and transplanted them to our property.  I’m sure this is illegal, and it is foolish of me not just to admit it, but to post a picture of the crime in progress.  I’m hoping the Osterville cops have something better to do.

All in all, it was a day that needed to be capped with a glass of Linda’s dandelion wine.

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