There are many wild edible weeds. Depending on the weed variety, you can eat the leaves, flowers, stems, shoots, and even the roots of the plant. You can cook them just about any way you can imagine to add variety, color and nutrition to your meals.
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Look for delicious edible flowers and weeds, such as dandelions, in your own backyard. The dandelion root can be roasted and used for coffee, or boiled and stir-fried alone or with other cooked vegetables. All edible flowers and weeds must be pesticide-free to be edible.
Acknowledge that many other flowers and weeds resemble dandelions. The best way to identify dandelion flowers is by their size. Dandelions grow to approximately 1.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. Each dandelion stalk bears only a single yellow flower.
Use the juicy, tasty leaves of the purslane plant as an addition to any salad or as an herb adding flavor to your recipes. Purslane is found just about anywhere.
Spot purslane between mid summer and fall. It has a reddish 1/4 inch thick stem with several inconspicuous small, five petal yellow flowers. The fruit is up to 1/4 inch long, filled with small, black seeds. The purslane plant has 1/2 to 2-inch paddle-shaped leaves branching out about four to ten inches.
Pick chicory from your backyard, parks or unoccupied fields. Chicory, closely related to endive and escarole. Chicory looks like romaine lettuce with loose, upright heads. The leaves are a little thicker with a mild to strong bitter flavor depending on the variety. Safely boil and eat the young leaves from stinging nettles or add chicory to any meal to enhance the flavor.
Collect the shoots of Japanese knotweed in early spring when they're still tender. You can locate them in sunny, moist areas like riverbanks, roadsides or even your lawn. Japanese knotweed is high in vitamin C. They appear first as fat, green, red-flecked stalks poking up from the ground and can grow as tall as thirteen feet. The Japanese knotweed leaves are triangular with smooth edges. They are four to six inches long and about 2.5 to 4.25 inches wide, with pointed tips.
Find edible flowers in the produce section of the supermarket. Use flowers from a nursery or garden center for culinary purposes if the plant has a "Food Crop" label.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the edible weeds have not had any herbicides applied to them for at least the last 60 days before using.
- Wash all vegetation thoroughly under running cold water.
- Never eat plants unless you've positively identified them as edible.
- Harvest edible plants, but don't take them all. Leave some to help propagate another crop of the wild vegetation.
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