I have plenty of weeds in my garden and yard, and I was wondering if there is a resource where I can identify what they are and if they are healthy to eat? For example, I have a lot of thistle and stuff that looks like dandelion greens without flowers. I also have a lot of what we have always called Pigweed (whitish diamond-shaped leaves, two leaves facing one way and two leaves facing the other way).
If I could put this stuff in my juice, it would be great, but I don't know how to check if it's safe.
I would borrow a field guide to edible wild plants from the local library, to start with. I've come across a few of them; the best will have information about inedible plants which look similar to the edible ones which might be confused with them, and tell you how to tell them apart.
I had one out of the library a year ago- the author's name was Callas, I think. I'll do a bit of googling...
So far, my favorite edible weeds are lamb's-quarters (which I call wild spinach- it's a relative of spinach and tastes like it), garlic mustard, and purslane. I've tried violet leaves, common mallow, dandelion greens, common plantain, but they either taste kind of bitter, or are too bland, or just taste like grass.
EDITED TO ADD: "Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate", by John Kallas, is the one I borrowed. But there are many guides to wild foods, dating back to before Euell Gibbons published his "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" and other books. I'd stay with the more recently-written ones, though- some foods thought to be edible have been found to have unhealthy effects for some of us. For example, Comfrey was formerly used as a tea or vegetable, but it can sometimes mess up your liver, and now they advise using it externally only (I'm not sure what it's used for).
We had a thread about foraging about a year ago...
Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
Thistles are in the asparagus family and the peeled stems apparently have a similar texture to celery:
While searching for the above image I found a weed eating website:
Dandelion leaves are edible; they are less bitter before flowering:
They look similar to catsear (cat's ear?) leaves so be careful!
Clovers are a lucky find (cough):
You can even eat nettles, cooked or raw, without the sting:
Nettle soup, spanakopita and risotto recipes (can be made with dairy and egg substitutes):
"Treat others as you wish to be treated."
- The Golden Rule
"No snowflake in an avalanche feels responsible."
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
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"Even dust piled up will grow into a mountain."
- Japanese Proverb
Henbit, wild lettuce, and dwarf mallow are my 3 big food weeds.
Henbit is often the first edible thing to grow, I had some in my oatmeal this morning.
Dwarf mallow has a very mild flavor and it goes in my oatmeal when the henbit goes to seed in spring.
Wild lettuce is bitter, and in large amounts sedative, but I add some to my curries in early spring because, well, its free
I avoid harvesting dandelion leaves because I dont want to hurt my dandelions, the roots are used in my medicines. Wild chicories look like dandelions when not flowering, they entered my veggie garden from a local park after I had to patiently wait while an obese cranky looking skunk was having dinner on a walking path.
And I got to harvest wild mint today
But, on my short list for reading: