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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Shamrock is the ancient symbol of St. Patrick, who is said to have Christianized Ireland and rid the Emerald isle of snakes. One thing most people don’t know is that the true Shamrock is edible. It’s not in season on St. Patrick’s Day where I live, but true fans will have a pot on the window sill!

White Clover - © edgesuite.netWhite Clover, one of three plants a vast majority of Irish people call ‘Shamrocks’.

There are several species of three-leaved plants that are called ‘Shamrocks’ in various parts of the world. Wikipedia says… White, Red and Lesser Clover are the plants recognised as Shamrocks by the vast majority of Sons and Daughters of Erin. They are also delicious! (Just ask any cow lucky enough to come across a patch!) The Herbs Black Medick and Wood Sorrel are also recognised as Shamrocks by some.

Why eat ’em?

Because you can. And because it honours St. Patrick and Ireland’s religious heritage more genuinely than Green Beer or Green Milk Shakes.

Use fresh Clover, with blossoms, if available, as you would Micro Greens, as Garnishes and in Salads. Top Burgers with them, where you’s normally use Lettuce. If you can get your hands on lots of Clover Greens, try making Clover/Shamrock Pesto. Try Clover in Spring Rolls and Wraps. Use your imagination!

What are others doing?

Restaurateurs are going Shamrock Crazy as usual today. The aforementioned Green Beer leads the way in licensed establishments, of course. But here’s a list of other green treats, old and new, that are available:

  • McDonald’s has it’s famous Shamrock Shake back again this year, along with a number of new Shamrock drinks and smoothies.
  • Burger King has a special OREO Mint Skake on the menu.
  • Starbucks has a trio of St. Patrick’s Day themed drinks on tap.
  • Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are serving green Dunkers, as usual.
  • Dr. Seuss fans will be celebrating with Green Eggs and Ham.
  • Ninjaswithappetite is going one sillier with Green Eggs and SPAM.
  • A number of Bagel bakers are offering Green Bagels.
  • The McAlister’s Deli chain is offering free Green Tea all day.
  • Baskin Robbins has a special Green St. Patrick’s Day Cake.
  • Down South, home cooks and restos alike are celebrating with Grasshopper Pie.
  • Don’t forget Spinach Dip!

Irish Favourites that aren’t necessarily Green include:

  • Colcannon is a mix of Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage that goes back almost as far as St. Patrick, himself! Garnish with crispy Bacon chunks.
  • Corned Beef and Cabbage are classic together.
  • Boxty is a an Irish member of the Hash Brown / Latke family.
  • Irish Stew – especially with Guinness – will get you raves at supper tonight.
  • Have a Beef or Pork ‘hand’ Pie for a snack.
  • And remember that Irish Soda Bread goes with everything.

And that’s just he beginning…

‘Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!’  (Happy St. Patrick’s Day…)

~ Maggie James