You walk out to your garden…
You anticipate green tomatoes streaked with hues of red, long green zucchini ready to pluck, and green beans begging to be harvested…
And then you spot them. Weeds!
The horror! Your hands itch to rip the nasty vermin from their root-clutching tentacles. How dare they take up residence in your yard and garden?!
I mean, a weed is a weed, right?
Well, kinda sorta. Before you tear them out, spit on them, and stomp on their graves — get ready for a surprise. Some of those pesky nuisances are edible! Here are 3 common edible weeds from the garden!
#1 — Lamb's Quarters
Ah, the common and unsuspecting lamb's quarters. It will easily overtake a garden! And I used to relish demolishing it (insert evil cackle).
Then… One summer we went over to a new friends' house. The husband, an avid gardener, showed us his garden. I'll never forget how he reached down, plucked a few leaves of lamb's quarters, and ate them without a 2nd thought — all while talking!
“Just like spinach,” he said.
Lamb's quarters grow just about anywhere. In your yard, garden, roadside ditch, shady woods — even sunny, dry areas with bare soil. It drops seeds easily and propagates readily.
Look for triangular-shaped leaves with shallow teeth along the edges. When it's young, look for a powdery white color toward the center of the plant, as well as the underside of the leaves.
If you want to taste it for yourself, pick the stem and leaves when they're young and tender. As the plant matures, stick to the leaves.
Use as you would any other greens! We add it to salads, or stir it in a hot, oiled pan until wilted to then add to our omelets.
#2 — Sheep Sorrel
Sheep sorrel! Another easy-to-spot, common, “pesky” weed.
Like lamb's quarters, sheep sorrel grows just about anywhere. It does like sandy or gravelly soil best, however.
Look for arrow-shaped leaves with little lobes toward the bottom. As they mature, they develop flowering stalks.
Pick the leaves only since the stems and flowering parts aren't as tasty. In fact, look for plants that haven't flowered yet at all. Their leaves will taste even better!
Sheep sorrel is surprisingly sour. But that gives soups, salads, and even rice dishes a nice, enjoyable twist.
#3 — Thistles
Thistle must be tried to be appreciated! 😉 The first time I told my husband about it, his look said it all:
“Yeah right, you want to eat thistles?! Is your throat made of steel?”
Turns out, the thistle midrib is the edible part. After carefully picking a leaf, hold it right side up and strip the leaves off the midrib — the white vein-like part down the center of each leaf.
It may take a little maneuvering, but the taste is worth it! I presented one to my husband, and even he was pleasantly surprised by their tender taste. He asked for seconds. And as any good cook knows, that's a great sign.
Look for thistles by the rosette shape of their leaves, with a silvery underside, and of course — their thorns! If you run around barefoot, the thistle might find you first.
So… Next time you head out to mow the lawn, weed the garden, or take a drive, watch for these common “weeds” and stop for a bite to eat.
Do you harvest edible weeds from your garden? Do these common edible weeds grow in your garden or yard?
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