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Edible Weeds To Forage From Your Backyard

Posted by Live Love Mom on August 13, 2020 at 9:00 AM

by: Dr. Stephanie McEndree


Edible greens can come from surprising places. Some are so hardy that they grow through cracks in the sidewalk! A lot of people simply remove weeds and throw them away. You can simply harvest them, wash them, and eat them. In fact, here are the most common weeds in almost every backyard that are not only edible, but bring a lot of nutritional value to your daily meals.




Clover has many different uses. You can pick it directly from the ground and wash it, and stick it in a salad. You can also leave it out in the sun to dry, and use it to make tea with the flowers. They are also edible raw and can be sauteed in different meals for a splash of color.




Plantain has both medicinal and edible purposes and is very popular for the forager. They can be added topically to soothe burns, rashes, stings and wounds. The leaves, whether old or young, can be sauteed, steamed, boiled or eaten raw after being washed. The seeds can be ground into a flour or cooked like a grain. These can also be used as fiber supplements or laxatives.




Dandelion is probably the most common weed listed here, and it can be very invasive with how fast it grows, spreads, and comes back even after removal. The roots go in very deep into the soil that they are nearly impossible to remove for good. The plant can regenerate and grow from a broken off root. The young leaves are considered less bitter, but the older ones are also very much edible. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and every part is edible. You can add the leaves in a salad, steamed or sauteed, even added to soups. The flowers can be eaten raw, breaded, fried, or used to make wine or syrup, or even salves. Roots are often dried to make tea, or roasted, or added to root vegetable recipes. Dandelions are way too useful to simply be pulled out and thrown away. In the past, people used to remove grass to plant dandelions.




Wood sorrel can be used as a thirst quencher and is said to be very refreshing to eat, so it's also popular for foragers during the hot summer months. The flowers, leaves and immature seed pods are edible but are said to taste sour like lemons. They can be a wonderful addition to salads, soups, seasoning and sauces. They look like clovers, but can be differenciated by the heart-shaped appearance of the leaves. They also have yellow floweds, when clover has purple or white flowers.




Curly Dock also known as yellow dock, is recommended to be eaten in moderation. The leaves can be eaten raw when they are young, and the older leaves need to be cooked and can be added to salads or soups. Stems can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked, while the mature seeds can also be eaten raw or boiled, and can also be roasted to make a drink similar to coffee. Change the water several times when you cook them because they are high in oxalic acid.




Purslane is most often found in damp areas where there is ample shade, so it is often never far from a body of water, a valley, or anywhere that regularly gets hosed or collects a lot of rainwater. You'd never think to look twice at this weed, but it's actually in the succulent family that can be eaten raw, cooked, or added to recipes for a natural pepepr flavor. Both the leaves and stemps are extremely rich in omega-3 and antioxidants. Add them to a stir-fry, salad, or to stews or soups. 



Lamb's Quarters are in the spinach family and are also known as goosefoot. The seeds are similar in appearance to quinoa and can be eaten as a side or main dish. Goosefoot can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed or used as a replacement for spinach. 




Chickweed can be made into a tea and used as a slight diuretic. With both edible and medicinal properties, this weed is always a joy to have in your backyard. The leaves, stemps and flowers can be consumed cooked or raw. It tastes like spinach and can also be used topically for small cuts, rashes and burns.




Wild Amarath also known as pigweedare popular with vegan foragers as the seeds are a great source of protein. They can be gathered and cooked whole grain or as a ground meal. Older leaves can be cooked similar to spinach, and younger leaves can be used in any recipe that requires leafy green vegetables such as salads or garnishes.




Mallow also known as malva or cheeseweed is mainly found in the United States in lawns or gardens. The leaves and seeds are edible either raw or cooked, especially when they are young. More mature leaves are best cooked, steamed, boiled or sauteed. Like the name might suggest, it doesn't taste like cheese and is not a cheese replacement.



Categories: Homesteading, Homemaking Tips, Life Advice

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7 Comments

Reply Jen
10:11 AM on August 17, 2020 
I never knew this! I am allergic to a lot of weeds but itâ??s interesting to know
Reply Amy Gougler
2:05 PM on August 17, 2020 
How neat! I didn't know these were all edible! We definitely have clovers and dandelions around us!
Reply Ngozi - https://elevatedmum.com
5:31 PM on August 17, 2020 
This is so informative. I never knew these were edible. Wow. I'm not sure I'd eat any in my garden without face to face approval!ð???
Reply Abby
9:57 AM on August 18, 2020 
Iâ??m only familiar with plantain and dandelion so this was a good education for me!
Reply Dawn
10:09 AM on August 18, 2020 
I LOVE dandelions! They're so useful and they grow everywhere! I'm in the southwest, so we don't get a lot of the other weeds and plants you mentioned, but dandelion leaves are great in salads!
Reply Jennifer Bradley
7:45 AM on August 19, 2020 
Thank you for sharing this! I hope I never have to eat weeds, but this is good to know and refer back to!
Reply Mamie
9:12 AM on August 25, 2020 
This is interesting. I have an app call picture this to help me identify the plants in my garden that like to pop up.