I can't believe how many tumbleweeds are on my block right now. They are absolutely everywhere. Stuck in the gutters, rolling through traffic, hanging out in my bushes. EVERYWHERE. I remembered an old Texas cookbook that my grandmother had when I was growing up. It had a recipe for tumbleweeds in it. I always thought it was odd, but now that they have infiltrated our city and caused a bunch of ruckus, maybe it's time for us to get even, and start eating them...

So, how do you cook up a tumbleweed?

First off, you can't eat the ones that are already dried up and on the loose around town, which is a definite bummer. The best thing to do with those is collect them and dispose of them as soon as you can. They pose a pretty big safety hazard as they are highly flammable. They aren't good for eating because they are too hard, pokey, and dangerous to eat. You wouldn't want to die choking on a tumbleweed. But, you can harvest tumbleweeds while they are still young and cook them exactly like you do spinach.

The scientific term for tumbleweed is Salsola Pestifera or Russian Thistle. It just happens to be a cousin to some of your more common favorites like beets, Swiss chard, and spinach. If you pick them while they are still green, you can do all kinds of things with them, from simply sauteeing them with butter and garlic, to substituting them for spinach and making a tumbleweed artichoke dip.

I vote that we all start picking them while they are babies and turning them into gourmet meals. If we start munching on them when winter is over and everything is green again, then maybe next year we won't experience the same kind of tumbleweed armageddon that we are seeing around Lubbock today. Just an idea...

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