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edible weeds

4 Weeds You Can Eat

One person's weed-filled lawn is another person's salad bar.

By The Editors of RodaleNews.com


As gardeners and lawn-care fanatics alike gear up for this year's growing season, the age-old battle between human and weed begins anew. Your relationship to these nuisance plants may change, however, once you realize that some of them aren't really weeds at all—they're lunch.

Here are some suggestions for finding free munchies in your backyard's landscape. Just remember to ID them with a credible guidebook or App if you're not plant-savvy, wash your harvest thoroughly before consuming, and don't take anything from an area that's been treated with chemicals or pesticides.

1. Dandelion
Perhaps the most familiar lawn weed of them all, the dandelion may also be the weed that’s most known to be edible. In fact, the reason it exists in the U.S. is that it was introduced by European settlers as a salad green. You can buy dandelion greens at some specialty food markets, but odds are if you have any kind of lawn there are some growing a whole lot closer. Their bitter taste isn't for everyone, so add small doses to a salad to try them out. Both leaves and stems are edible; you can also try steaming them, or serving with traditional Pennsylvania Dutch hot bacon dressing.

More From Rodale News: The New 'Powerhouse' Produce List

2. Purslane
This plant has rounded, succulent, leaves and a reddish stem; it's sometimes called (or confused with) pigweed. You can eat the stems and leaves fresh—try them in salads or sandwiches—or use them in soups or in recipes that call for spinach (they’re related and have a similar taste). Purslane is loaded with antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A and C, and also contains health omega-3 fatty acids.

They have to be cooked before you eat them: Peel the outer leaves away and remove any tough flesh. Cut across the grain into one-eighth-inch slices, and boil in an uncovered pan for 20 minutes (or longer, if there's still a bitter taste to them). Or microwave uncovered for 4 minutes in a shallow pan of water. After they're prepared in this way, you can eat them with some soy sauce, add to salads, or use them in a asian-style chicken stir-fry or other recipes.

More From Rodale News: How to Naturally Kill Midsummer Weeds

3. Bamboo
This familiar plant, made into everything from floorboards to pajamas, is actually a type of grass. And if anyone in the neighborhood has ever planted any, there's a good chance some of it will spread into your yard. Bamboo shoots are a frequent ingredient in Asian cooking, are full of fiber, and are sometimes described as tasting like corn. Should any pop up in your vicinity, harvest shoots that are less than two weeks old and under 1 foot tall.

4. Japanese Knotweed
The shoots of this plant poke up from the ground in the spring amidst the dead stalks of last year's growth (the stalks look like bamboo, but there's no relation—even though it's sometimes called "Japanese Bamboo"). Harvest the green and red shoots when they’re 6 to 8 inches tall, before they turn woody. Remove any tough leaves or rind and steam or simmer for a tart, rhubarblike taste.

For more original ways to control weeds, try tapping into the power of these five low-tech weeding techniques!

Filed Under: LAWN CARE, ORGANIC FOOD, ORGANIC GARDENING

Published on: May 20, 2009



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weeds to eat

well, i TRIED TO THINK up my own before i looked at these. Most were duplicates.
My middle sister taught me knotweed in her NJ yard a hundred years ago. It was a different kind, though; small, looked like grass, a small spike of little pink flowers, knots on its roots, like potatoes do.
I had bamboo shoots from another sister's yard in Fairfax VA.
Purslane grows here and there in my area (Portland OR, like sidewalk cracks, under fences, in the crack of concrete against the edge of a building. I like to pick it as I walk past. Its favor is mild, good in salads (which, thank you, reminds me I planned to have a salad this evening)
Dandelions are too bitter for me, and slugs or snails is Totally Off the list of 'food.'

I've never tried sunflower stems, but it sounds good.
I'm totally unfamiliar with lamb's quarters except for the name.

Sorrel is nice, kind of tangy like mild lemon, pretty leaves.
Seabeans. green stalks live in the edge of a bay.
Seaweed, kelp and more.
Nettles. Use gloves or plastic bag mitts to pick them, MUST be cooked. I'm not fond of any cooked greens; these seem like many others. It was our green vegetable when traveling in Scotland in spring, and greens from stores were Very Expensive.

So Many More Weeds

There are so many more than mentioned here, but I had to mention my all-time favorite: lambsquarters. They are absolutely everywhere where we live, from city back lanes to farmer's fields. They are tender, easy to identify, extremely nutritious, delicious raw or lightly cooked and possibly the best source of non-animal protein available--vegans take note. Learn to identify this one, and you will have many a tasty and free meal!

Bamboo

To prepare bamboo shoots peal off the dry outside scales, cut down the center, and boil in an open pot of water for 20 minutes. Discard the water and taste a shoot. If it bitter boil in a fresh pot of water for another 5 minutes and taste again. Once cooked you can slice/dice and use in cold salads or toss into stirfries.

Eating shoots is a great way to help keep potenially invasive plants such as bamboo and Japanese knotweed from spreading, or even to wear out the roots and kill the plant (though this second will take long and devoted attention but if you snap off every single shoot that appears you will eventually prevail).

eating weeds like sunflower

i want more of the weeds and to eat the weeds can you put up a website about it.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a noxious weed and serious habitat threat in much of the US. If it is grown domestically for food or ornamentally, it should be actively prevented from spreading outside the yard by seed or runners.

Peeled Sunflower stems

What about sunflower stems, peeled and eaten like celery?

weeds you can eat

I purchased and sold organic produce for many years, and the Dandelion greens that were cultivated and sold on the open market were larger and milder than those found growing in your yard. I was told that the French--noted for eating Dandelion greens with Escargot (both found in or about the yard) had bred milder varieties of Dandelion, over the years.

No matter--if you decide to eat Dandelion greens from your yard, look for those found in cool, shaded (or mottled-dhade) areas. They're milder, and generally larger, too. Eat them before they flower--and if you cultivate them in mottled shade and give them water when they require it, they'll also be milder and more tender, and won't flower until they've produced a prodigious amount of leaves.

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