Many of you already know this one, but I bet you didn’t know you could eat them!
My husband I were out for a hike a few months ago and found a patch of clovers. On a whim, we figured we would try and find a 4-leaf one. Imagine our surprise when we found 20! We ran home to check and see if they were, indeed, the real deal.
The real 4-leaf clovers are from the species, Trifolium repens. They are also referred to as white clovers or shamrocks. While other species of clover often have mutant leaves, it is a rarity for this particular breed to do so.
I was ecstatic to find out that ours were real and that we had found a little mutant patch of real 4-leaf clovers.
Legend has it that 4-leaf clovers are only magically charged if you find them on your own. Naturally, we felt pretty lucky.
In my research though, I also found out that these guys are also edible. It’s handy information to know, considering they are loaded with nutrients and protein and also grow virtually everywhere in the US.
Clovers belong to the pea family, fabacea. Red clovers are more commonly found in teas than white clovers, although they are virtually the same nutrition wise. According to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, red clovers contain a compound called coumarin which is a known blood thinner. Apparently, this also helps this herb cleanse the blood and liver. It has also been found that clover tea also has anti-tumor properties.
All of the plant it edible and the small leaves have a surprising amount of flavor. Like plantain, it is best to eat the smaller leaves as they are more tender. You can boil, steam or eat them raw. The flowers can be dried into a flour or used as a tea. The root can also be boiled and eaten or used as a tea. According to Montana plant-life guide, “The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavor if mixed into cakes, etc.”. I have never tried this personally, but I certainly will.
I was actually eating a prepackaged salad just a few days ago and to my surprise found a clover mixed into the bunch. It had an insane amount of flavor and was just wonderful.
So the next time you guys spot a clover patch, it isn’t a bad idea to stop and look for some magical little guys and a tasty little treat!
USDA. “Trifolium repens L. White Clover”. 2012. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=TRRE3
Montant Plant-life. “White Clover. Trifolium repens L.” Plant-life. http://montana.plant-life.org/species/trifol_repe.htm
Tilford, Gregory. “Clover”. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West. Mountain Press Publishing Company. (1997)
Image provided by wikipedia.