Tired of weeding? Here’s some good news: many of those tedious little greens you’re pulling out of the garden are actually edible. Although generally regarded as pests, several weeds are in fact packed with nutrients and vitamins that you can’t find in an ordinary leaf of buttercrunch or romaine lettuce. So take a second look at the groundcover the next time you’re in the garden making space for your veggies, or out on a stroll in the forest. Check out the easily identifiable weeds (mentioned in the recipe below) to see if they grow in your yard or nearby to make yourself an edible wild weed salad.
Each of the weeds in the list below is linked to an illustrated description of the plant and its common habitat. However, we recommend investing in a field guide for your area in order to safely consume wild edibles. Spring is the best time of year in most places to practice wildcrafting, as the younger, more tender shoots will taste fresher and less bitter than later in the year.
Though tangy and tasty, weed salads should only be eaten on occasion! Several wild weeds contain oxalic acids that can produce oxalate salts, which slow calcium absorption and damage internal systems if eaten in large quantities. We haven’t added specific amounts for each weed, as we’ll leave it to you to decide which flavors you enjoy most. You can always mix in some lettuces, leafy greens and other veggies to make this dish more palatable for the average taste buds. Happy foraging!
From the Organic Authority Files
organic lettuces and leafy greens, chopped
organic carrots and beets, grated
organic shallots, finely sliced
organic goat cheese, crumbled
After you’ve finished foraging or gathering weeds from your garden, make sure you pick out any grasses or unwanted plants from the mix. Wash off any mud or dirt and chop the leafy weeds (not the flowers or the wood sorrel). Prepare any other ingredients you are using in the salad. Toss all of the salad makings together, and decorate with wood sorrel (the heart-shaped petals can be separated) dandelion flowers and violets. Serve with you favorite dressing and some homemade bread.
Image: Myrtle Glen Farm