Our gardens are at their biggest and best in summer. Unfortunately, that’s the case with our weeds too. Most gardeners will rip these weeds out of the ground and into the trash can as soon as they see them, but consider this: some of those weeds might secretly be a delicious superfood! And harvesting them for food means less waste, less work, and a more eco-friendly garden.
It used to be common to eat many of these weeds, but the knowledge was lost in the past couple generations. Today, “urban foraging” is making a comeback, as more savvy gardeners come to realize the waste of perfectly good food.
Common Weeds that are Good to Eat
You might be surprised at how many of those weeds infiltrating your garden beds are edible. These are some very common edible weeds that you probably have in your garden right now, and all of them put spinach to shame with their nutrient content.
Purslane is a small succulent-like annual that creeps through garden beds, and thrives in sidewalk cracks, gravel and other areas with poor soil. Most modern gardeners find it annoying, but purslane is a prized source of food! It has a wonderfully mild flavor, and cooks worldwide love to add it to raw salads, stir frys and stews.
Purslane is a nutritional powerhouse. It is the best green vegetable source of omega 3s, the fatty acids that are common in fatty fish.
Lambsquarter (Chenopodium album) is a highly nutritious annual with light green, goose-foot shaped leaves. It has many common names, including pig weed and wild spinach. In India, it is called bathua, where it is cultivated for its densely nutritious leaves and seeds. We love lambsquarter because its leaves stay mild and delicious, even in the heat of summer when most leaves get
Lambsquarter is packed with nutrients. Just one cup its fresh green leaves contains 464 mgs of calcium (spinach only has 30), and 66 mgs of vitamin C. Lambsquarter is also a great source of vitamin A, and B-vitamins like thiamine, niacin and riboflavin, and contains a fair amount of iron as well.
Sauteed Greens Recipe
This basic recipe is fast and easy to put together. Try it out, and customize with your favorite blends of spices, greens and other ingredients.
2 cups fresh lambsquarter leaves
½-1 cup other greens (I like to use purslane)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp butter or oil of your choice
Pinch of salt
Dash of spices (we like to use powdered garlic and pepper)
- Wash lambsquarters and other greens, and remove the tougher stems. Coarsely chop and place the greens in a warm skillet. Add water, oil and spices.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the greens are nicely wilted.
- Add salt to taste.
Best served warm. Enjoy!
Other Edible Garden Weeds
Here’s a list of the 6 most common garden weeds that are edible and nutritious! Many of these fascinating plants have medicinal properties as well. Happy foraging!
*Disclaimer: when foraging you must be 100% sure what you’re picking and eating. Some poisonous plants can look similar to these edibles, so always double check.
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