Weeds That are Edible

4 Weeds That Are Edible

List of Weeds You Can EatWeeds are a big irritant for many gardeners and a lot of time is spent plucking them. However, many of the weeds we toss in the compost heap or the trash are not only edible, but have a ton of health benefits. Knowing the most common weeds that are edible now just might come in handy in the future if a situation arises in which food and fresh greens are scarce.

If this list inspires you to go out into your garden and grab some weeds for your salad tonight, just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with herbicides or any other chemicals. Also, be absolutely sure that you have identified the plant correctly and that the weed your pulling is an edible one. Check out The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants for the ultimate guide on foraging for wild plants.

Here are 4 common weeds that are edible.

1. Milk Thistle

Milk ThistleMilk thistle is considered a weed to gardeners, but a powerful medicine to researchers and holistic practitioners. Thanks to the sylmarin it contains, it has very healing effects on the liver and may help in the prevention and even reversal of liver damage.

Once the spiny parts of the milk thistle have been removed, you can use the entire plant. Eat the leaves raw in a salad, sautee them with olive oil and garlic, and boil the base of the flower and eat like an artichoke heart dipped in butter or mayonnaise. Yum!

If you don’t have milk thistle growing in your yard, you can buy Organic Milk Thistle Seedsand grow your own.

2. Dandelion

Weeds You Can Eat - Dandelion FlowerThe poor little dandelion (Taraxacum) is so misunderstood. They pop up everywhere and most people pluck them from the ground without a thought and toss them away. You should be tossing dandelion leaves in your salad, not in the trash. The leaves can eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, made into tea, and much more.

The flowers are also edible and can be used to make dandelion wine and dandelion jam. The root of the dandelion can be ground, roasted, and made into a coffee substitute. There is a company that sells dandelion coffee that gets rave reviews.

The health benefits of dandelion include anti-inflammatory properties, diuretic properties, liver cleansing, are high in potassium, and may even be beneficial in the prevention of cancer (though more studies are needed.)

If you don’t have dandelions growing in your yard, why not buy dandelion seeds and grow these weeds on purpose! Another option is to buy Organic Dandelion Root and use it to make tea.

Burdock

burdockBurdock is usually prevalent in the spring and fall. In Asia, especially Japan, it is considered a valuable food. In North America, it is considered a nasty weed. It is related to the artichoke plant.

The taproots and stalks of burdock are edible but the younger the plant the less bitter they will be. Use young fresh burdock taproot to make tea, peel the root and sautee it to use in Asian stir fries, use the leaves like you would use spinach, and peel the stems and cook them like you would asparagus. Eat the immature, peeled flower stalks either raw or boiled in salt water. Burdock root was an ingredient in the original root beer recipe and many recipes for homemade soda call for it.

The health benefits of burdock include cancer prevention, antibacterial properties, anti-fungal properties, and diuretic and laxative properties.

If you don’t want to forage for it, you can buy Organic Burdock Root

Lambs Quarter

Lambs QuarterAvailable from spring to late fall, Lambs Quarter (also known as pigweed or goosefoot) is a very common weed. The leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. It is closely related to quinoa and is a traditional medicinal plant in Africa.

The health benefits of lambs quarters include high levels of vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, and manganese. The seeds are high in calcium, protein, potassium, and vitamin A.

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