In the past, I’ve written about sustainable methods of weeding. Though the techniques I’ve shared are affordable, they can be a pain. A story in Organic Gardening recently caught my eye because it suggests eating weeds as a way to control them. Chomping on free food sounds good to me!
Note: You should only eat weeds you recognize as some plants may be poisonous. I’m lucky enough to be apart of a community garden where a Master Gardener is available to help me identify edible weeds. Nevertheless, you may be surprised to learn you’ve already tried some of these weeds before!
- Watercress – You’ve probably already had a bite of this weed without knowing. It’s popular in restaurant salads. This stuff is $3 – $4 at the store, and free in your backyard!
- Bamboo – You don’t have to be a panda to enjoy bamboo shoots. They’re full of fiber and taste like corn. It’s best to harvest the shoots when they are young and under one foot tall.
- Dandelion – This is the most well known weed (see the photo above). Dandelions have a bittersweet flavor so it’s best to harvest them in early spring and late fall when they are sweetest.
- Purslane – It’s extremely difficult to kill this plant because it’s everywhere. It has rounded, succulent leaves and a reddish stem. It’s full of antioxidant, vitamins, and it also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
- Japanese Knotweed – If you live in the Northeast or Midwest, you’ve seen these weeds. They look similar to Bamboo. The best time to harvest these weeds is before the green and red shoots turn woody.
- Lamb’s Quarters – This weed is also known as wild spinach. It may be because it looks a little like Popeye’s green leaf of choice. Aside from being loaded with protein and calcium, it has more vitamins than spinach.
- Kudzu – You’ll find this weed in the south. It appears in August and September and aside from eating it, you can use it to treat allergies, colds, and fevers.
- Red Clover – This flower-like weed is controversial as many use it to combat colon and prostate cancer, but you can enjoy it with rice.
I’ve had bamboo, watercress, and dandelion. Would you give any of these a try to save money on food and keep your garden or backyard tidy? Organic Gardening shares recipe suggestions for the weeds above if you’re interested.
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