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So, what are you foraging and eating? - moved from Ontario board

I recently picked some stinging nettle tips and turned them into a delicious soup.

Last year, I decided not to weed the purslane from my garden, let it grow big, cooked it and served it with pasta. Haven't seen any this year, but still hoping...

What wild, weedy, but edible delights have you found? And what have you done/are you doing with them?

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  1. Interesting question, although methinks it will get moved to another board.

    I have been clipping and using garlic chives in my salads. You may not think garlic chives are wild and weedy but they have been declared so by me and my neighbours. If let loose, these guys take over. I have them growing everywhere, even out of cracks in the pavement.

    Now, for my other invasive pestilence, non-variegated goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria). Any culinary uses for this indestructible and incredibly invasive plant?

    3 Replies
    1. re: JamieK

      I hope they keep it here, as I'm interested in what people in the area are eating. I think it would be a great way to compile such info., as I'm sure there are many things even in my yard I didn't realize I could eat. For example, lambs quarters and pigweed...

      Anyone tried them?

      1. re: JamieK

        Too true. Those little chivelets love the environment between interlocking bricks. In terms of ground elder the easiest way to get rid of it is to emigrate. According to wiki: "The tender leaves have been used as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used". I think I would stay clear of it.

        I seem to remember from the UK that horses and sheep were happy to eat it. So get yourself a rabbit.

      2. The fruit on my serviceberry are close to ripening (late this year I think). I only nibble on them or add a few to yogurt as I find them too tart and gritty. But the birds can't even wait til they're ripe and are at them already, especially those crazy robins.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          How old is your serviceberry? I have three plants small ones (about 1.5' tall now), one of which sprouted three berries this spring. But, I removed them to direct energy towards plant, not berry, growth. Hoping for a real bounty in a few years.

          1. re: Full tummy

            ha, ha! believe me they will be very bountiful eventually. Serviceberry trees or shrubs yield a lot even with those voracious birds (and sometimes squirrels). The one I have now is very old, it was old even when we bought the property 10 years ago, and it has tons of berries. On my previous property, I had a young tree and it had fruit within a year or two.

            You can make pies or tarts with these berries but I'm not sure if these are actually "saskatoon berries" or just related. Anyway, I can see how pioneers in survival mode may have been thrilled to find these berries.

        2. love purslane: i throw them in salads and in any kind of pickle i make - the snappy crunch and subtle flavour are great in both! i also found some interesting Turkish dishes/recipes using purslane: http://www.turkishcookbook.com/

          1. I hear of folks harvesting edibles like Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard from the city's ravines in the springtime - anyone have any experience with that?

            1. Lemon Balm Mojitos!!!
              and Lemon Balm Pesto.... loving the lemon balm this year.

              Oh... and I keep passing these people picking things at the side of the road on the Don Mills South hill from the Parkway... with plastic bags... could it be dandelion? I can't imagine... maybe I'm missing a best kept secret....

              Hmmm...

              2 Replies
              1. re: shiro miso

                unless there's something hiding in between the grass and the dandelion... i can't imagine it's anything else. exhaust fume veggies don't appeal to me though so i'll let them be!

                1. re: shiro miso

                  From the location you described, I think they're picking St. John's Wort. A sort of herbal tea with some reputed medical effects. It's those little star shaped yellow flowers.

                2. Great topic. Been enjoying my first of the 'vleeta', otherwise known as Amaranth. But in fact, not positive, but it might also be known as 'pigweed'. It's delicious, but of course I grew up eating it. Usually we Greeks boil them and put olive oil and lemon over it as a side.

                  http://www.tobiascooks.com/recipes/vl...

                  PS>I do hope this topic stays here in the Ontario board since we have such a distinctive climate we can only grow certain things and while it's great to read what Californians are growing, it just doesn't apply to us here in Ontario.

                  1. FT, can you enlighten me? What exactly is purslane? I have never heard of it before.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: icey

                      Icey, check out the picture here:

                      http://www.umassvegetable.org/ethnic-...

                      I have seen it growing in sandy, disturbed locations (my garden is such a place).

                      Epicurious even has some recipes for it:

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      Most of the weedy greens seem to be quite healthy; purslane too!