Ah, the weather is warming and spring fever is setting in! Time to think about yards and gardens. In the past several years, I have reconsidered my approach, especially in terms of what I try to get rid of and what I might leave. One lesson in this was my discovery that honey bees like button weed. Hmmm, I will have to leave them a good sized patch.
Bees aren’t the only beneficiaries of indigenous plants – often called weeds by us “civilized” folk. It turns out that we are digging up some possible meals.
There are lots of these edibles in disguise in our lawns and green spaces that are actually friendly; even helpful…and more than that, edible. While I am not quite ready to go sampling on my own, I will describe some that I know to be good:
You’ve heard of dandelion wine right? Well, why not eat this plant raw and unfermented? I’ve have known that the leaves are edible for a long time. Yes, they can be a little bitter, especially if they’re older, but young ones aren’t so bad. It turns out that dandelions are good from root to flower. More on that as I check them out.
This rather delicate looking plant is a good salad veggie, although I’ve read that it can be cooked in stir fries or soups as well. It turns out that purslane is a good source of omega 3.
I’m betting you’re not too surprised about that. It’s leaves and flowers are good to eat. A small amount of leaves can be chopped and added to salads. The flowers can be eaten raw or dried for tea.
The leaves add snap to salads; the blossoms can be used a garnish or as cups for sweet or savory mousse; the seed pods can be pickled and use like capers.
5. Rose blossoms:
There are all sorts of uses for these lovelies, from decorating and garnishing to making tea. The flavor differs between roses – Darker ones tend to have a strong fragrance and flavor.
6. Herb flowers:
Garlic, onion,chive, basil, oregano, rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage… Most taste like the herb. Take it easy, in case your tummy doesn’t appreciate the added fiber.
I have friends who are very familiar with edible plants. One goes out to pick her wild salad greens every spring: Dandelion, mustard, fiddle ferns…
Another puts violet blossoms in her salad for an extra touch.
I hear tell that wild amaranth (also known as pig weed) is another nutritious offering by Mother Nature. I haven’t done anything with this, so can’t recommend it.
Are you intrigued yet? There are plenty of others; I’m just not all that familiar with them. Do a search or take a class: You will discover all sorts of edibles in Mother Nature’s pantry.