Humans seem to have something against weeds, but is there a valid reason for that? Is having a nice lawn really worthy of all the herbicides? Despite the fact that farmers treat weeds as invasive, the truth is that not all weeds are the same. If you look at it from another perspective, many of these plants are edible. In fact, only a small portion of edible vegetation on our planet is available in grocery stores. Perhaps this is the right time to stop pulling weeds from your garden and start trimming and eating them.
13 Edible Weeds and How to Eat Them
1. Autumn Olive
Autumn berry is the other name for this weed because its fruits remind of red currants. It has a rich amount of lycopene which is why it can be used to separate jams. Alternatively, you can consider making a savory and sweet sauce that will have a beautiful tart color.
You will notice this plant by its purple flower heads that remind of a thistle. This weed is fairly large and, although it originated in the Eastern Hemisphere, you can now find it in the Western parts, too; known to be help in recovering from premature ejaculation. Peel burdock’s stalks, mix with leaves, and boil together or consume raw. If you do not like your food bitter, you might need to boil the leaves twice. It is interesting to note that the Japanese love to eat burdock and consume stalks, leaves, and root. The plant also has medicinal properties as it can be useful for skin conditions and supports liver health.
Aside from being edible, this plant also has medicinal properties and you can use it to treat rashes or cuts. When eating chickweed, it will feel similar to consuming spinach. You can consume flowers, stems, and leaves and choose whether you want to cook or eat them fresh.
Dandelion is a common weed that lawn owners often blame for ruining the look of their beautifully trimmed grass. When it comes to eating, there is not a part of this plant that is not edible. Roots, leaves, blossoms, can all be eaten both raw and cooked. If you do not appreciate a bit of bitterness, look for smaller leaves. As for cooking options, you can add dandelion to your soup or stir-fry.
5. Field Garlic
You have to be careful with field garlic because some plants look similar, but are poisonous, such as Star of Bethlehem. Field garlic has leaves that are narrow, long, and hollow, as well as below-the-ground bulbs and flower clusters that remind of the umbrella. Another excellent indicator is that they will smell of onion once pulled out. Before eating, you should clean the plant just like you would any garlic and use it as a garlic substitute in the meal you are cooking.
6. Garlic Mustard
Garlic mustard is incredibly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. Its potential health benefits include keeping cholesterol levels balanced and boosting the immune system. You can eat roots, leaves, flowers (expect them in May or June), and seeds (not before autumn). People like to add them to their soups, stews, and even salads.
7. Japanese Knotweed
While it is native to Asia, you can find it in North America, too. It has a bad reputation of being extremely invasive and annoying, but to truth is that it can be tasty and nutritious since it contains vitamins C and A, as well as zinc, phosphorus, and potassium. It has same nutritious stuff you find in grape skin/wine. We recommend cooking it as its specific taste is a bit too much to handle raw. It is an excellent alternative to rhubarb in any recipe.
This weed is native to Asia and Europe, but you can find some plants from the same genus in the US. We are certain that you use sage in your kitchen and the good news is that mugwort offers a similar fragrance. You can use it as a spice or add fresh leaves to a salad. Alternatively, cook them in a soup together with other ingredients.
This is a plant that can be poisonous if eaten in a wrong way and delicious if prepared properly. It is native to the East Coast of the US. You should NEVER consume this weed in a raw form! The only acceptable way is to cook the plant, but make sure to avoid underground parts even in that case.
You might know this weed under the name yellow rocket. The great thing about it is that you can harvest its leaves even in the winter. It has generous amounts of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as potassium and calcium. You can cook young leaves like spinach or simply eat them raw, while flowers and flower buds are also edible.
Although the Americans are fighting against it, people in China and Japan have been consuming kudzu for millenniums. The plant has plenty of protein, fiber, and vitamins A and D. You can eat roots, blossoms, vine tips, and leaves. The cooking experts recommend dehydrating and pulverizing the roots to turn it into a starchy powder.
This weed loves sandy soils and sunny areas and you can find it across all continents. You should stick to consuming leaves which you can eat fresh or cook. They are a bit bitter, but if that is your thing, feel free to use them in a salad. It is interesting to note that some people use yarrow as a preservative when making beer.
13. Shepherds Purse
It is native to the European continent, but you can now find it virtually anywhere. It loves lawns and gardens, as well as roadsides. When it comes to edible parts, focus on the leaves because they are available throughout the year. They are healthier to eat in a raw state and can be a substitute for cabbage. You can eat roots, flowering shoots, and seeds, but the latter ones are tricky to collect as they are incredibly tiny.
There are plenty of exciting recipes that perfectly go along with weeds. For example, think about baking dandelion or making an omelet with onion and yarrow. Fresh edibles can be used to make a beautiful salad and, if you prefer the cooked alternative, you can whip up a beautiful creamy soup with a yellow rocket. It is about time to change our perspective and look at weeds differently. Not all of them are nuisances and we hope that this article taught you about just a tiny slice of what nature has to offer.
Dwayne Austin is a multi-faceted author, blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US. He has been writing blogs men’s health and also write Virectin Reviews. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter.
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