Last night I was invited to speak about edible weeds at a community garden potluck at Ellis Elementary School. As you most often find with gardeners, the food was outstanding, and there was a very special dish exactly to my liking! As soon as I saw it, I knew it was made with the wild vegetables commonly called weeds. The woman who made it is originally from Afghanistan and her seasonings were just delicious! Just the right combinations of savory and spicy with a nice level of heat!
As our discussion of weeds moved through sour grass, purslane, dandelions, pigweed, lambs quarters, chickweed and dock, this woman kept nodding her head and saying “Oh, yes, we eat this.” I could not begin to tell you the names she used! However these little friends of mine are found in countries around the world, that is perfectly clear!
[Another woman commented that she had gone on a trip to Iceland and points north where dandelions still grew! These plants are so good for you, and found everywhere. Doesn’t that tell you something?]
Finally I stopped talking and asked my new friend to show me what she picked and cooked for the supper. Spreading her hands over a place that was not anyone’s garden plot, she told me she just pulled out the grass (unwanted it turns out) and cut off everything else with scissors and cooked it! There in a 3’x3’ plot was a wonderful combination of pigweed, lambs quarters, purslane, and some mustard – all tiny and all so tasty! Simple and delicious greens for dinner? A big YES in my Urban Forager book!
So next time you are weeding your garden, set aside the edible weeds for dinner while your other greens grow. You’ll have twice the amount of produce from your beds and lots more nutrition! You also know exactly what’s been done to the ground and don’t have to guess if they are safe! Ahhhhh! That’s the good life!