edible weeds

I told a friend a few days ago about how when I’m weeding, I bring the dandelion and morning glory in and throw them in my fridge or blender.I don’t love the weedy taste of morning glory, so I use it in minimal amounts.Did you know the ENTIRE dandelion plant is edible?Roots, flowers, anything.And wild plants have higher nutrient content than cultivated ones!

This year I’m going to try to learn to identify several new weeds to eat as part of my learning how to be prepared for emergencies.(When we can’t obtain cultivated greens, it will be nice to be one of the few who can gather non-cultivated greens.)I have the U.S. Army’s The Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants.It’s an okay book–doesn’t include some plants I know to be edible, and doesn’t always say the greens are edible for a certain plant, when I know they are.But it has a checklist for how to test a new plant you want to eat but don’t know if it’s poisonous, to find out with very low risk if you will tolerate it.

Many of the plants in that very inexpensive book aren’t in my climate–some of you who might want to eat cactus or learn what grows in humid climates near water.

Here are some, from my studies, that grow commonly in my climate and are easy to find.The first three I already see in Utah and pick for my smoothies on a regular basis:

Purslane (this one tastes the best of all the weeds, I think)

Lambsquarter

Thistle

Pine needles (yep, you can eat pine needles)

Oak leaves (yep, the leaves from oak trees–this should be easy for you)

Wild dock and wild sorrel

Chicory

Burdock

Amaranth

Grape leaves (wild or cultivated)

Strawberry leaves (I need to thin mine anyway)

The way you test a new green is to first rub it inside your elbow or wrist, then you put it in your mouth (don’t chew), then you taste a tiny piece of it, then eat ¼ cup . . . all the while seeing if you have any negative reaction.

Hope you enjoy some wild plants this summer.They’re free, and they’re wildly nutritious.Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

14 thoughts on “edible weeds

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  1. I pick a lot of miners lettuce where I live. It’s abundant in A & C and lots of minerals.

    I also harvested 5 lbs. of dandelions this past April and May since it seemed to be everywhere…more than usual. You can’t even buy microgreen dandelions anywhere!

    Make sure to bring your clippers with you on your walks/hikes and don’t pick greens in heavy traffic areas..or where dogs pee or pesticides might have been sprayed. And make sure that you don’t destroy the plant by yanking the roots and all!

    My family has no idea what they are eating in their smoothies :o)

  2. Lambs quarters are delish as a cooked green – lightly steam like spinach.

    Cattails are another ‘every part edible’ plant.

    Quinoa & Amaranth are relatives – & another fav. is nettles! Picked more my son’s last weekend! I’ve been making lots of pesto by ‘wilting’ them, then processing – yum! Have also had them mixed with carrots (raw) & run thru a juicer – you need to break down the hairs, so cooking ~ a minute before blending or processing works well!

  3. I have a question(s) for you all…

    So I should not pick my Dandelions from my yard as we have a dog, and we live by a main road, correct?

    But I can gather them by clipping the stems while at my family farm, and then just throw the entire stem and flower, and leaves in my smoothie?

    Can you stick them in a freezer bag for using later? How long will they keep in the fridge, rough estimate?

    I haven’t started with green smoothies but I so want to start implementing it into my routine and what better way than getting all of Mother Nature’s freebies!

    Thanks for any help!

  4. My son just walked in with his hands full of dandelions for our smoothies. He got them out of our yard (we do not spray). He’s excited right now! I will have to put them in the fridge till morning.

    So glad you posted this!

  5. I have a garden this year, and I kept finding this pesky weed, and I would pull it out by the handfuls. I recently googled edible plants, and found out that I was growing Purslane!! Now I leave it alone, and even sent my girlfriend home with some so that she could plant it in her yard. I’ve put it in my smoothies, and have even sauteed it with spinach and zucchini. Purslane is a highly nutritional plant, cultivated in every country around the world (except the US) and is full of omegas. Tastes a little like clover to me.

  6. How do I know what weeds are growing in my yard? Can I clip some and take them to a nursery? I have looked at the pictures online, but some of them look so similar, I don’t want to start eating the wrong stuff. Any suggestions?

  7. Does anyone know where to get lambsquarters or where I can find it? Is it something I can plant by purchasing seeds? This is not the first blog that I’ve seen lambsquarters discussed and since I’m in utah and am trying to grow am much of the “healthy weeds” as possible, I thought I’d try to locate this one. Thank you.

    1. Vickie, I am planning to take photos or videos of edible weeds before the summer is over, so you can identify it. I know of TWO types of lambsquarter that are common here in Utah, at least. I don’t know about actually cultivating it.

  8. You can find tons of lambsquarter just about anywhere but there is TONS across from the boat dock enterence at Utah Lake.

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