It’s Time to Eat Weeds!

Springtime whets my appetite for delicious edible weeds springing up in yards and gardens.  They are a tasty and highly nutritional addition to healthy smoothies, salads, saute’s, and baked goods, including my Wild Greens Muffins.

I will have more future postings on this subject. For now I include photos of only a few of the early spring edible weeds, along with their common names. Be sure to identify them correctly (google them online) before picking – I am not responsible for you picking and eating the wrong plants!

D Dandelion 1

Dandelion. Leaves and flowers are edible. Use in salads, smoothies, sautéed and cooked.

G London Rocket plant

London Rocket. A variety of wild mustard. Also called “wild arugula” it adds peppery tang to salads which mellows if cooked. Use leaves in smoothies, salads, sautéed and cooked.

G London Rocket plant 2

London Rocket with blooms. Harvest before they go to seed.

H Mallow, cheese plant

Cheese Mallow. Leaves are used in smoothies, salads and sautéed. They release a mucous-like juice (original marshmallows were made with this juice). There are a wide variety of other mallow plants that are also edible.

J peppergrass full plant

Pepper Grass. Eat leaves and flowers in salads and smoothies. Adds a peppery taste. Harvest before they begin seeding.

L sow thistle plant mature w blossom

Sow Thistle adult. Use leaves in smoothies and salads. It is not a true thistle, but it’s pointed leaves have earned it this name.

L sow thistle w red tint

Young Sow Thistle. It may be green or have this purple coloring to leaves.

Young leaves are more gentle on the palate. Larger adult leaves have a stronger taste, which some people prefer. Cook or sauté to calm down the taste and bring out any sweetness lurking in their nature.

Where do you find these? Everywhere! They grow in empty lots, invade your garden and yard, and thrive in untended country fields. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, we watered bare soil of a new yard and a plethora of wild greens emerged, providing a luscious garden of Amaranth, Lambsquarter, Sow Thistle, London Rocket, Flixweed, Pepper Grass, Wild Clover and Purslane.

We harvested the ones listed here when living in Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Indiana. Be sure to only pick those growing further than 20 feet beyond streets and alleys, or even further if the street is well-traveled; you want them grown beyond the reach of car fumes. And never harvest if they grow in soil treated with pesticides or herbicides.

Nature’s plants are strong-flavored, and well endowed with healthy vitamins and minerals; when compared to tamed garden plants, their content is significantly higher in nutrition.

If you have a delicate digestive system, begin with small amounts, increasing over time until your digestive system becomes accustomed to their potency. I recommend beginning by using them in smoothies. I’ll post a recipe soon.

If you love arugula – you’ll love London Rocket. If you like mustard greens, you’ll enjoy dandelions and sow thistle.

Still hesitant? Walk on the wild side!! Why not give it a try? Some oriental and health food stores regularly sell wild greens as normal fare. I learned to harvest and eat these from my mother, who regularly served us lambsquarter, wild violets, nasturtium and young poke salat leaves. If  you love greens, you actually need never grow them in a garden. Simply harvest these wild plants; some even continue to grow during cold winter months.

Weeds. They know, they just know, where to grow, how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants. They just know, and therefore I’ve concluded weeds must have brains. ~ Dianne Benson, Dirt, 1994

Weed, London Rocket 2, edited for book

Sow Thistle and London Rocket growing under our apple tree.A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill,except for learning how to grow in rows. ~ Doug Larson, humor columnist

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~ Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

The Universe is holographic; every wild plant is a universe unto itself. Delve deeply into the heart of each so that it may teach you and expand your understanding. Contemplate and honor its gifts; nourish it with your gratitude, much as it nourishes us all by simply existing in joyful service. ~ Ellie Hadsall

More Weed posts: Why Eat Weeds? Dandelion Pancakes  Wild Greens Muffins  Summer Cooking with Lambsquarter and Wild Greens



Want to cook and bake with edible weeds? My downloadable eBook, “Nature’s Garden: Edible Wild Plants in a City Yard” is available with detailed information on identification, benefits, harvesting, preparation, and recipes.

Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.


About Ellie Hadsall

My life is a journey with insights and gifts being revealed as I move forward. Every one I meet is a companion on this adventure. Together, we ride a wave of transformation. Let's leave the old behind and move through new portals! After a long, fulfilling career in human resource, personal development, and motivational speaking, I am currently a spiritual mentor, author, intuitive, Kriya minister, Vedic fire ceremony practitioner, meditation teacher and spiritual friend.
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