Bear in mind that some of these look a lot like some other weeds that should not be eaten. Don’t pick anything unless you’re completely sure that it is edible.
This common weed with beautiful yellow flowers makes a great salad. It’s not the flowers you want however, it is the leaves.
Pick dandelion leaves as soon as dandelion season starts. Young leaves are much better than old ones. Old ones are edible too, but they could be quite bitter.
Wash the leaves and put them in any kind of salad you want. They might not be the best eaten alone, but if you like the taste – why not? Season with some salt and pepper, and your completely new and unusual salad is done.
2. Stinging Nettle
Most of us do our best to avoid stinging nettles. They sting and they leave you with itching blisters, but they are also very good to eat.
Stinging nettles taste pretty much like spinach, and can be used the same way spinach is. Pick only the heads of young plants. They don’t really sting, but having gloves on, while doing this is a good idea. Soak the leaves in water, in order to remove the stinging chemicals and after that, stinging nettles are safe to eat.
Stinging nettles are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as in potassium, manganese, iron and calcium. You can make stinging nettle soup, or stinging nettle and cheese quiche for example. Dried stinging nettle can be used for making tea.
If you want to keep your stinging nettle for longer period of time, either dry it or blanche and freeze it. It needs to be rehydrated before use, if dried, and it could stay good for months both frozen and dried.
3. Lamb’s Quarter
Another weed that is edible and can be used as a replacement for spinach is called Lamb’s Quarter, also known as goosefoot. The edible parts of the plants are leaves, and you can probably find this one growing in your backyard.
Leaves of lamb’s quarter have a very nice, kind of nutty taste. They are very rich in vitamin A, as well as in proteins. They are perfect in vegetable salads and seasoned with vinaigrette. The leaves could also be cooked and used in any other way, spinach would be used. My personal favorite is mashed potatoes or potato salad with blanched lamb’s quarter.
This quite nice looking plant comes from the same family as quinoa does. It has been known as edible weed for centuries, thanks to Incas, who considered amaranth their staple food.
Amaranth seeds can be cooked and prepared, as you would prepare quinoa. However, they are even better than quinoa, because they do not contain gluten, which makes them safe for people with gluten allergies.
The leaves are also edible if cooked, and they are very rich in vitamins A, K, B6, iron and calcium. The mature root of this weed is also good to eat. It has a milky taste, white color and is usually cooked with tomatoes and tamarind gravy.
Found growing in all 50 states, purslane is a common weed you should definitely try. The stems, the leaves and the flowers are all edible and taste pretty much like spinach.
Purslane can be eaten fresh or cooked. It has a slightly sour and salty taste, and is good even for making soups and stews. It is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and it is also a great source of anti oxidants. Believe it or not, this weed also contains omega 3 fatty acids, so if you’re not really a fan of fish – eat a fresh purslane salad.
Purslane is also a weed known to traditional medicine, but it is contraindicated during pregnancy, and for people with weak digestion. It is used as treatment for oral lichen planus, as well as topically to treat insect stings and even snake bites, boils and sores.
Also known as starwort, due to the starry shapes of its flowers, chickweed is another common weed you could eat. It is very rich in vitamin C and has a nice, delicate and pretty good taste.
Chickweed has traditionally been given to people who are sick, or weak, because it was believed that it would make them stronger. The leaves, flowers and stems are all edible and can be eaten either fresh – in salads – or cooked or fried – in soups and dishes. The tops could be tried and cooked, into a tea which helps with soothing your bladder as well as with bronchial irritation and ulcers.
Chickweed could survive up to two weeks in your refrigerator. It only needs to be dry – not dried, you can keep it fresh, but you should not put it in the fridge wet, because it will go bad – and put in a plastic bag.
So, have you already tried any of these or maybe some other weeds? How did you like it and would you recommend it for the rest of us to try?