Six Wonderful Weeds You Can Eat

Why waste your time pulling them out if you are only going to throw them away? Next time you attack these garden invaders, try using some as food.

We all think of weeds as pesky plants that invade our gardens, take over, and ruin our personal Edens. However many weeds are edible and some even have medicinal uses. I encourage you to view weeds in a different light, not as pests, but as valuable plants, welcome additions to your yard, and good food. I feel that if you are going to pull them up, you may as well eat them. Before you pick any weed for the purpose of eating, make sure it was not treated ,or sprayed with chemical pesticides or herbicides. Check rules in your area before you intentionally grow any of the mentioned “weeds”, as some may be considered nuisance or noxious weeds in some areas.

The Dandelion

File:Kantoutanpopo.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kantoutanpopo.jpg

This is probably the best known weed of all, with its yellow flowers and jagged leaves it is consider a weed by most gardeners. However the Dandelion is completely edible and if you have livestock you will notice it is often a food of choice. Even the flowers and buds can be consumed. The most common use of dandelions is in salads, however they are also used in soups, and to make wine. Try adding some flower buds to a spaghetti sauce for an interesting taste. On a medicinal side, Dandelions are diuretics.

Stinging Nettle

This is not common in urban gardens but is well known to most rural gardeners. It is a tall plant with unattractive, small, white flowers. The curse of this plant is that touching it results in an itchy rash, however cooking or drying removes the stinging effect and leaves the plant palatable. They are most often used to make teas, or stir fries, and are noted for the high iron content in their stems.

Plantain

File:Plantago ovata form.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plantago_ovata_form.jpg  The desert form of Plantain.

Plantains are low growing plants with broad leaves, the flowers appear tightly clustered on an upright stem and are hardly noticeable except for the appearance of the stem. This weed, of course, is not related to the banana plantain. It is commonly used in salads, teas, or soups but has medicinal purposes as well. The medicinal purposes include helping with asthma, bladder problems and to curb smoking desires. It is also used topically as a poultice, with supposed antibacterial properties.

Purslane

File:Portulaca oleracea Ja ao 2.JPG

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portulaca_oleracea_Ja_ao_2.JPG

This is a low growing succulent. It has small, thick leaves on a reddish stem that crawls along the ground, often invading rock gardens or sidewalks. It is very high in Omega 3, and the stems are rich in Vitamin C. This is a fabulous addition to salads, sandwiches, or soups.

Chickweed

File:Stellaria media 01.JPG

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stellaria_media_01.JPG

This is one weed that seems impossible to control, so why bother. It is small and rather harmless, plus you can eat it. Chickweed has tiny leaves and small white flowers and when you try to pull it, the plant breaks free of the roots which continue to grow. It is known for having strong laxative properties, so if you are going to add it to your dishes, do so sparingly at first. It is mostly used in salads or sandwiches.

Burdock

File:ArctiumLappa1.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ArctiumLappa1.jpg  Greater Burdock has large leaves.

This is a tall plant, with a spiked flower head. Like nettle, it is more common in rural gardens. It is said to have blood purifying properties. The leaves are often used in salad. The roots of Japanese Burdock have an oyster like taste, and make an interesting addition to stir fry.

Other Garden Friendly Reading

6 Edible Annuals

5 Edible Plants to Grow Indoors

6 Edible Plants to Grow on a Patio or Balcony

12 Good Things to have if you Live in the Country

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  1. There is not a hedgerow untouched in Cyprus, the villagers eat every bit of green that is good for them, several are listed here Mark. The old ladies have an eye for the good green leaves, me, I just look at them thinking ‘will you kill me if I eat you’ lol
    Great article and I love the idea of not weeding!

  2. We have all these weeds and then some. “Polk Weed” is good cooked as a green. You have to boil it, and pour off the water twice then cook it in oil. iI tasts very much like spinash. “Wild Rabbit Tobacco” is good when the stalks are green. Cut them up, batter in flour and fry. “Wild Lettuce” is good as a salad. Ground Cherries are good to hull and pop straight off the plant into your mouth.When I was young, we gathered all these and more. I still would if I lived out in the country.

  3. Clear, color pictures of the edible weeds would be most helpful. A picture of the weed taken 3 feet away to show its natural suurounding and a close up picture showing the edible parts. Thanks

  4. Great article!
    I had always seen them as an ‘enemy’ of the garden, now I know I can eat them! LOL

    Agree with fhorsefeathers, would be nice if there’s pictures of the suggested menus from the weeds, so I’d be more tantalized to hunt and cook them

    Anyways, would love to see an update of this

    Have a nice day!

  5. i didn’t know that it was edible?? (chickweed) thanks for sharing:)

    wikipidea

  6. Dandelions are actually quiet tasty!

  7. Great article!
    I had always seen them as an ‘enemy’ of the garden, now I know I can eat them! LOL

    Agree with fhorsefeathers, would be nice if there’s pictures of the suggested menus from the weeds, so I’d be more tantalized to hunt and cook them

    Read more: http://gomestic.com/gardening/six-wonderful-weeds-you-can-eat/#ixzz1PwKqiPcx

  8. Great article!
    I had always seen them as an ‘enemy’ of the garden, now I know I can eat them!

  9. Great tip about the nettles, I went on a survival course and we were told to cook up nettles and eat them or drink the boiled jiuce as a tea, very imformative thanks

  10. This is a funny idea. I am just up to eat the weeds of my neighbour. But curious i am up to buy my family a new home and every tip for gardening is appreciated, as i have no experience with that.
    Thank You

  11. You can also eat juvenile fern fronds, also known as fiddleheads, frequently found along the outer edges of wetlands.

  12. I did not know you can eat dandelions. Good to know.

  13. I had a dandelion salad once at a restaurant in NYC. I was surprised how good it was but I would be uncomfortable eating weeds from my yard because of the pesticides.

  14. Yes, I have also eaten dandelion salad. it is sauer.

  15. Wow! I was not aware that so many weeds that grow around my home were edibile.

  16. I hate the stinging nettles when I’m backpacking! We have them everywhere in VA. Can’t imagine making tea out of them…

  17. Never looked at the front lawn that way before. At the cabin there is an abundance, ok overabundance, or dandelions. Might be time to look at making some dandelion wine. Thanks for the idea!

  18. THanks for the information.

  19. Excellent information. This site definitely explains essential concepts to its readers. Thanks for continuing to write such wonderful articles.

  20. It’s so amazing…nice article,thanks for sharing.

  21. When I was a kid, me and my friends used to eat these yellow flowers.. They were tiny, tiny ones, and tasted just like lemon juice!

  22. I think it is important to point out that burdock can be confused with cocklebur which is poisonous to animals so good to check out rather than just assuming it is burdock.

    Also chickweed can be confused with spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) which is poisonous to humans – it has different flowers (but can be tricky to distinguish when not in flower) its easiest distinguishing feature is a milky sap.

  23. thank you very much for this article. it was very good!

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