Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: 8 Edible Garden Weeds

Instead of resenting the presence of weeds in the garden, add these wild plants to your plate. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Weeds have publicity problems. The forager and writer Matsuoka Tama said that their real problem is not that they appear in your garden; People first call them "weeds". "It's just like garbage. Garbage is our decision, which is why we throw it away," Huang said. "A lot of what is a weed and what is not depends on our value.

When you think the plant in the backyard is a weed because you haven't planted it there, you may decide that it should be uprooted and thrown away. However, you will miss a big opportunity: many untamed plants are not only edible, but also delicious and healthy for you. Whether you have a large yard, an elevated bed garden, or even a simpler container garden, you are likely to have at least some of these common plants to choose from.

raised garden bed

Weeds You Can Eat

  1. Purslane

This rich plant has spoon shaped fleshy leaves, red, juicy stems, and small yellow flowers. You may find that it grows out of the cracks of asphalt, because it is not fussy about the location of its roots, and it thrives under high temperature. It is also rich in nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Dandelion

Please think twice before cutting this common lawn nuisance; This is one of the best edible garden weeds, Wong said. Use tender leaves (protruding from the center, light green) or cook them like spinach in salads because they are a good source of vitamins C, A and K and potassium

Or pluck the yellow flowers, dip them in tempura batter, and fry them. "Some people say these taste like popcorn," Huang said. You can also pull up the whole plant and make a decaffeinated chicory like drink from its roots.

  1. Sourgrass

Also known as yellow wood sorrel, this perennial plant native to North America is not grass at all. But almost everyone can find it in their backyard, said Coldickinson, who is the forager and executive chef of Leila Restaurant in Sonoma MacArthur Plaza Hotel and Spa in California.

The lemon flavor of sour grass makes it an excellent choice for decorating seafood dishes. You can also cut several stems and add citrus cracker to the pickled fish.

  1. Chickweed

The taste of this plant is similar to parsley. It likes cool weather, so it is best to harvest it in late spring and autumn. It has oval leaves growing in pairs, on long stems crawling along the ground, and star shaped white petals. Dickinson said that use scissors to trim the top of tender new growth or just a few inches of old plants, and then use spinach in any way, especially to add salads.

raised garden beds
  1. Sumac

The sumac tree is sometimes called a "weed tree" and grows in the United States and Canada (except in the far north). The edible part of this small sapling tree is a cone of brick red fruit clusters. (However, American sumac is not the same as Mediterranean sumac.

  1. Wild mustard

When you take a bite of the flowering wild mustard, "it tastes like a spoonful of Dijon mustard," Dickinson said. This plant is very hardy and can even be found near Greenland and the Arctic.

Use its clusters of bright yellow flowers as decoration, or pick the pods after planting, and eat or pickle them as they are. Hard core foragers can also use leaves, which are often hard but soft with cooking and rich in vitamins.

  1. Galinsoga

In Central America, this plant (part of the sunflower family) is a popular delicacy, Wong said. However, in the United States, it is more common in large fields, in crops rather than in gardens.

If you find Jialinsoga and want to harvest some food, don't pull out this tall plant like pulling out unwanted weeds: just choose the tip (if it already has flowers, it doesn't matter, the flowers are small, and there are five white petals around the yellow center). Add an appropriate amount to the stir fry or salad (please note that the leaves may be a little fuzzy, so you won't want to eat the whole bowl alone).

  1. Lambsquarters

This super common weed often appears in fields and pastures, orchards, gardens, and even roadside, almost triangular in shape, with toothed leaves showing blue-green. The biggest gift you find for lambs is that they have powdery substances under their leaves, which will disappear when you cook them. Use leaves like spinach; They contain a lot of iron, protein, calcium and B vitamins.

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Safe Edible Weeds

Please make sure you know the soil condition before harvesting weeds for dinner. For example, areas with a long industrial history (such as Brooklyn, New York) may contain large amounts of heavy metals, so the wild plants growing in them may not be safe to eat, Wong said. This is why you should avoid pulling weeds from the roadside, parking lot or other potentially contaminated ground.

If you want to start growing edible weeds in your garden, needless to say, stop using herbicides and fertilizers around them and let them do their own thing. "It doesn't mean you have to start doing something; it's more about stopping," Huang said.

Another key tip is not to eat anything you are not 100% sure what it is, Dickinson said. Toxic plants look very similar to edible plants: for example, the deadly hemlock can mimic the leaves of wild mountain radish (similar to parsley). Study the leaf pattern and know what you are looking for (Blog hunters, fishing gardeners and chefs are a good resource), and have confidence in your weed identification ability. Once you find an edible weed, quickly rinse it with cold water before eating to remove the dirt on it.