No matter where you live, work, or play, you’re probably coming into contact with a wide variety of weeds every single day. Weeds often go unnoticed or are pulled from gardens to make way for flowers. However, weeds are not just a nucince. They can actually be extremely helpful. Did you know there are several species of weeds that can be eaten for survival purposes?
What Is A Weed?
According to the dictionary, a weed is “a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.” This definition definitely isn’t doing the term any favors, and it does not mention the fact that these annoying plants are edible. But they are! As previously stated, you probably see weeds multiple times in a day From tiny plants sneaking up in cracks on the sidewalk, to dandelions filling a field, weeds are all around us.
Probably the most common weed there is, these yellow flowers fill our yards with color. When these flower heads are young, they’re great to pop into a salad. You can also eat the young leaves. When the plants get older they won’t taste as good. Although they are still edible they will be a lot more bitter with age.
Dandelions are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex. They also contain iron and protein. Try adding the leaves to a pesto in place of basil. You could also collect flower heads and fry them up into flower fritters. Since these weeds are so prevalent it is super convenient that they are also edible, and can be stored for many weeks as well.
This entire plant can be eaten. With this being said, you wouldn’t want to eat too much of it at one time. Too many of them can give you an upset stomach.
Try it raw in salads. You may have even had these in a salad at a restaurant. You can also eat them cooked. This weed is truly a powerhouse. It’s loaded with vitamins C, D, B-Complex as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, biotin, and PABA. In case that wasn’t convincing enough, chickweed is another weed that is super prevalent. You won’t need to look long and hard for this one. Try scoping out your front lawn.
Based on the name, you might assume this plant would not be safe to eat. But it is! It’s actually one of the best out there. The entire shoot can be cooked like spinach. It can be frozen and used at a later date as well. Try drying the leaves out and using them in your tea. If you are going to eat these you will want to either dry them out or steam them in order to get rid of the tiny hairs on them. These hairs can cause irritation of the digestive tract.
This particular weed is high in iron content. It also contains calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins D, A, and C.
This weed is another pretty common one, and there are a variety of species. They can be found growing in abandoned lots or fields. They particularly flourish in shady and moist areas. Collect the flower petals and dry them for tea. Rosehips flesh can also be eaten and provide vitamin C.
Although the flowers and the rosehips can be eaten, you’ll want to be sure you are cleaning out the seeds and the fuzzy parts as this can cause irritation in the digestive tract. Both the flowers and the buds can be eaten raw or cooked.
Another plant that can be cooked like spinach, and actually tastes a bit like spinach as well is Amaranth. Natives of Central and South American have used Amaranth for centuries. The seeds are actually what have a big nutritional draw to them. They can be harvested and used in similar ways to a grain.
Amaranth seeds are a great source of vitamin C. It’s also naturally gluten-free and high in protein. It is also known to ease inflammation.
Burdock provides a root vegetable, one you may even see in a health food store or world market. The weed is best eaten within the first year before it becomes bitter. You can fry or saute the root of this weed. You can also use it in your tea. A fun fact about this weed it is was in the original recipe for the soda Root Beer.
You better believe there’s a lot of flavor packed into this plant. It’s from the mustard family which means the seeds can be used dried up or fresh. They can be added to a salad. You could also use the leaves to add to a salad as well. Essentially, these are mustard greens. You don’t need to cook these though, they can also be eaten raw.
This small weed has a big taste – and it’s pretty sour. It’s perfect for mixing into soups and salads. It’s full of vitamin C, A, and beta-carotene. If you are going to eat sheep sorrel just be sure you aren’t eating too much, the sour taste can give you an upset stomach if too much is ingested.
I bet you didn’t know that so many weeds have a purpose other than just being annoying. Now that you’re away that you can actually eat some of the pesky plants in your yard and garden, try looking around and see if you have any of these edible weds near you.