Did you know weeds can be part of your balanced diet? You heard right! For many people, weeds are an unwanted, uninvited guest in their yards. Stop using weekd killer in your yards. Start enjoying, appreciating and using weeds. Weeds are less work, cost less money to maintain and are 100% natural. The beauty of weeds is often overlooked. Edible weeds with health benefits is not an oxymoron it is a fact.
In spring and summer time we are sprucing up our gardens, getting ready to plant our next round of veggies, herbs and flowers. We are looking for colors, scents and beauty, but then all of a sudden our beautiful picture is disrupted by the “unwanted ones” – weed.
Edible Weeds Have Many Purposes
Weeds may be unwanted in our garden but they serve many purposes. One of the major benefits of weeds is that they add missing elements to your soil. For example, clover, a legume and a wonderful source of nitrogen, grows best when the soil is low in nitrogen. As it is growing it will add protein to the soil. Over the years I have discovered that different weeds appear each year, almost like a cylce. The weeds that prosper are providing nutrients that are missing from the soil. They thrive without that missing element, but in turn are abundent in that element and add it to the soil.
Edible Weeds and Their Beauty
The other major benefits of weeds is their beauty, taste and health benefits is that they can be used in many culinary dishes. Don’t get us wrong, not all weeds are needed in our diet, we refer to the edible weeds, which is many.
Many weeds are actually edible – and very enjoyable. Incorporate them into your dishes and turn it from a simple platter to an amazing and exquisite one. Friends and neighbors are always delighted and amused when I share with them that unusual flower or hint of flavor.
Edible Weeds Are Nutrient Dense
Common unwanted weeds have some of the tastiest and nutrient dense properties. Not only are many weeds edible and packed with medicinal properties, they are also filled with minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber, and they also boast of having low calories. They are abundant in health benefits.
Edible weeds have the best flavors when whey are still young and the leaves are full of color and healthy. Or if you desire the flowers, wait until they are in bloom. Roots of weeds are best harvested in spring or autumn when they are dormant.
Common Edible Weeds
Here’s a list of common edible weeds that have many health benefits, are easy to grow and have flowers that are also edible.
Purslane Pussley or Purslane is a great source of nutrient, and allegedly the greatest source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane has a crispy texture and tastes very succulent, its leaves and stems can be cooked or eaten raw. They are often found in lawns, beds, shady and moist areas.
Clover Clover is a common weed that often goes unnoticed, but this weed is edible and its leaves and flowers are not only beautiful, but can be used to spice up any meal and dish. Either red, white or yellow, they can both be eaten raw or cooked, or even dried (to make tea). Sauteed, boiled, cooked or raw for salads, clover will never go unnoticed on your plates.
Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) Common Mallow as the name implies can be found everywhere as it is quite common. It has many edible and medicinal uses. It is enriched with a lot of nutrients – vitamins A, B, C, calcium, potassium, , and magnesium. Inspite of its high packing nutrients, it has a mild taste on the tongue. All parts of the Common Mallow can be eaten. Leaves, fruits, flowers, and seeds, it can be eaten cooked if they’re mature enough, or raw in salads if they’re young, tender, and tasty. It can be used in soups, to spice up every dish with its touch of green.
Nettle (Urtica urens) Nettle is one of the best edible weeds when it comes to building the blood, as it aids with anemia. It has a very smooth taste when it’s blended in with the pineapples or oranges to make smoothies. It is very valuable that the leaves can be dried and stored. It is also quite rich in chlorophyll as it is one of the richest source of it.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) Comfrey is known for it’s high protein content and medicinal properties, even if it doesn’t have an aromatic scent. Use only young leaves for your cooking. For medicinal properties, Comfrey contains allantoin which is used to treat wounds, it helps the skin cells to grow faster to quickly close up wounds.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) Chickweed is an edible weed that is rich in protein, minerals, iron and Vitamin C. It can be used in soups, salads and as herbal tea. It also provides your body with calcium, cobalt, molybdenum, chromium, magnesium, zinc, Silicin and manganese. It’s very good for your digestive system and can also be used as a scrub and poultice for acne, sores and rashes. It has a mild and refreshing flavor. Leaves, flowers and stems of the Chickweed are all edible and can be used raw for salads or cooked in soups.
Dandelion Dandelion is one of the highest nutrients packing edible weeds, it’s bitter taste makes it quite useful in salads, herbal tea and soups. Its leaves are used to stimulate digestion and its roots when roasted can be used as replacement for caffeine coffee. It is also a great blood purifier and builder as it acts as a tonic to the system by destroying acids in the blood. High in Vitamins A and C, Dandelions are quite effective in cleansing the liver.
Plantain Don’t confuse this with the popular plantain plant, plantain weed is a common lawn weed that is used not only for medicinal purposes such as soothing of burns, wounds, rashes and stings, but also for dishes. Both young and mature leaves can be used, but while the young leaves can be cooked, eaten raw, sauteed, boiled or steamed, the mature leaves can only be boiled or cooked. They also serve as fiber supplements.
Pigweed Pigweed or wild amaranth as it is also called is a great edible weed. The young leaves are tasty and soft, and are a great source of protein. The seeds can also be gathered and cooked as growth meal or as cooked whole grain.
Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) Curly Dock is a prime source of both Vitamins A and C, it’s leaves can be eaten raw when it is young and soft, or cooked when it is mature. It can also be added to soups or salads. It is to be eaten moderately as they are highly packed with oxalic acid contents to avoid urinary tract irritations.
When picking edible weeds to eat, it is important that you only pick the weeds you can identify and eat them in smaller quantities when you are incorporating them into your diet. Always make sure to pick them from safe areas which are free from chemicals and pesticides.