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Wonderful Weeds

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One of the best sources of super nutritious and *free* food might be an unwanted intruder growing in your garden, lawn, or even in the cracks of a sidewalk! I’m talking about weeds. Not all weeds are edible of course, but a surprising number are. Some of the most nutritious edible weeds are very common including dandelions, purslane, plantain, curly dock and many others. Many people would be surprised to know that all parts of the dandelion are edible. If eaten raw, the leaves are best when they are young, before the plant blooms. The leaves can be eaten anytime but will be bitter after blooming. The flowers are also edible and very tasty when stir-fried! The roots can be roasted and ground to make a nutritious and robust tea.

One of my favorite edible weeds is lambsquarters. Lambsquarters grows profusely all across North America and Europe so it is very easy to find in those parts of the world. It grows anywhere weeds grow. They come up voluntarily in my vegetable gardens and greenhouse. I let them grow and harvest them before they go to seed. They are extremely tender and have a very mild flavor similar to spinach. Nutritionally however, compared to spinach, they stack up very well; cup for cup, lambsquarters has more than 10 times as much calcium, 8 times as much niacin, 6 times as much potassium, 5 times as much vitamin C, 4 times as much magnesium, selenium, and vitamin B-6, more than twice as much zinc, and is higher in vitamin E and iron. Lambsquarters is a little powerhouse of nutrition!

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Wild greens can be substituted in any recipe calling for cooked greens, although cooking them doesn’t require a recipe. They can simply be steamed or stir-fried in a little olive oil. I add them raw to salads and green smoothies and like to stir-fry lambsquarters together with cauliflower but what you can do with them is pretty much limitless. Here is a simple recipe from the “Cooking to Cure” book:

SAUTEED CAULIFLOWER WITH LAMBSQUARTERS

Servings: 1

½ c. raw cauliflower

1 clove garlic, minced

½ c. lambsquarters leaves

1 tsp. olive oil

Cut cauliflower into pieces ¼ inch thick. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cauliflower and lambsquarters. Stir for 3-5 minutes until cauliflower is lightly browned on both sides. Salt to taste.

An internet search for wild edible plants in your area will show you what to look for near where you live. Be sure to properly identify plants before eating them of course. The internet is a good resource for pictures and information about habitat. Your local library should have field guides on edible plant identification as well. Spring is the best season for gathering wild greens and can be a fun and educational family field trip around the neighborhood!

One Response to “Wonderful Weeds”

  1. 🙂 thanks for the recipe 🙂 will have to try this tomorrow morning. <3

    Regards

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