Eat Your Weeds!

Eat Your Weeds! The Best Edible Weeds

Easy-growing weeds are surprisingly tasty and packed with nutrients

[repost – thanks Mother Earth Living:

By Amy Mayfield
May/June 2011

With high levels of iron, potassium and beta-carotene,
dandelion stimulates digestion and aids the liver.

Long used as cleansing tonics, easy-to-find spring weeds are rich in vitamins and minerals. Local weeds’ leaves, flowers and roots make yummy additions to salads, soups and other dishes. If you’re collecting weeds in the wild, be certain you are foraging from a location free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Proper identification is essential; invest in a great guide like A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants or seek out a local herbalist or botanist to take you on a “weed walk.” Otherwise, you can grow weeds with virtually no maintenance in a container or your yard. You’ll be eating up the free harvest in no time!

Chickweed (Stellaria media): Delicate and high in vitamin C, chickweed leaves taste like spinach. Steam young leaves, or use leaves and flowers in soups, salads and stir-fries.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Best harvested in early spring before the plant flowers, young dandelion leaves have a tasty, mildly bitter flavor. With high levels of iron, potassium and beta-carotene, dandelion stimulates digestion and aids the liver. You can also eat the roots—scrub and slice them, then sauté in sesame oil and soy sauce.

Lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album): The leaves taste like spinach and are supernutritious—they’re loaded with calcium, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Eat them raw or cook them into casseroles, grain salads and egg dishes.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): This classic spring green, known for its stinging hairs, sounds intimidating to eat (and gloves are necessary when collecting), but the leaves lose their sting when cooked. Usually added to soups or steamed like spinach, nettles are high in immune-boosting iron, beta-carotene and vitamin C, and help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): High in alpha-linolenic acid, a brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acid, and vitamin C, purslane leaves, stems, flowers and roots are all edible. Purslane can be added to cold soups or blended into pesto.

Violets (Viola spp.): In shades of purple, white or yellow, violets are the most beautiful of the spring weeds. Add the lovely flowers, rich in vitamin C, to salads, stuffings or desserts, or try the young, tender violet leaves steamed or in salads.

Favorite Wilted Greens

Gather fresh, wild weeds such as chickweed, dandelion, nettles and violet leaves. You can mix these with cultivated greens such as spinach, kale, arugula and chard.

8 to 10 cups fresh and cultivated greens
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper

1. Wash greens and remove tough midribs if necessary. Spin or pat greens dry. Chop roughly.
2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic. Stir 1 minute. Add greens, stir and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are bright green and tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper and enjoy. Serves 2

29 thoughts on “Eat Your Weeds!

  1. I was recently thinking about this. While we were struggling to get enough water to our gardens to keep them alive during drought conditions, we watched purslane, plantain, dandelion and other weeds, that are probably edible, grow hardily without our help. We are planning on adding some of these to our diet.

    Also you shouldn’t have to buy dandelion seed. Just collect the seeds (white puff balls) before they blow away and scatter them in designated area.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Eat Your Weeds! | The Way the World Ends

  3. Going out in the early Spring with my Mom and sisters to dig up the fresh dandelion greens, to cook for dinner, is a happy memory from many years ago. Yes, we cooked them up with a ton of olive oil and garlic too. Mom said they were “free food” and good to boast our iron levels. Plus, all that garlic would kill anything that could ail us! LOL! Sadly, I have not seen a single dandelion down here in Florida. Maybe I should bring back a few plants when I visit up North, to plant in a flower box out in the shade. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Head up here to South Dakota! Our yard becomes a blanket of dandelions every spring. I’m not sure I can stomach the idea of eating them due to the fact that there are several stray dogs and cats around here and we can’t ever be sure where they may have done their business. :-S

      All-in-all, this is an interesting article and awesome information to know.

      Liked by 3 people

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