Backwoods Wisdom with Taj - Stop With the Weed Killer
Most of the "weeds" in your yard are edible and more nutritious than most of what you buy at the super market. Dandelion is one of the best plants you can eat. It grows everywhere, is hard to kill, has a lot of medicinal uses and contains more nutrients and vitamins than spinach and broccoli combined.
Plantain (the herb, not the fruit) is another nutritious "weed" that is plentiful and delicious when prepared properly. It is a natural astringent, helps with bruising and also makes an excellent poultice for open wounds, cuts, burns, etc.
Both of these plants are easy to prepare and use. Basic preparation consists of rinsing and eating raw, but will be bitter. Boil for ten minutes, drain, cover with clean water and boil for five minutes. Drain the water and use as you would spinach.
With plantain, remove the thick fibers from the leaves or boil until tender. The young fresh tender leaves are always the best!
Dandelion leaves, flowers and roots are edible. Roasted dandelion root is typically used as a coffee substitute. The flowers can be dipped in egg-wash and coated in flour or other breading and fried in butter or oil of your choosing. The leaves may also be sauteed with a light seasoning and are delicious added to omelettes, soups, stir fry or boiled with ham and onion like collard greens. Typically I add dandelion, plantain, amaranth and chick weed together with bacon and onion.
Chick weed is an amazing plant during the cold months, and is best late fall, winter and through late spring. Almost succulent in texture and appearance, it is most abundant when every thing else is scarce. It is delicious raw or cooked.
Wood sorrel, which kind of looks like a small shamrock with small yellow flowers is tasty in small amounts.
Soon to bloom, one of my favorite wild edibles (also a beautiful flower) is daylily! The flower buds are delicious raw or cooked. It reminds me of asparagus, but better! Only eat the orange daylilies, the multi-colored or specialty variety have always given me indigestion. The flowers are good deep fried. I also like to saute daylily buds with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and chanterelle mushrooms with dandelion flowers and leaves.
Before you eat any wild edible, make sure you properly identify and have no allergies to whatever you eat!
Next time I will include photos of native edible wild plants and a few basic recipes. I hope this is enough to get you started or at least enough to get you interested.