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What weeds are you eating?

I just had a dandelion salad with raspberry vinaigrette, apple, and sorrel. I plan on picking some wild onions and thistles on my day off. Anyone else eating things they're supposed to poison and hate?

If it sounds weird/interesting/morbidly fascinating/like a good idea check out the Steve Brill's site:
Weeds growing at home, work, the park, the forest, the highway median, school, or your neighbor's house might be edible and even tasty.

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  1. I bought a pot of red-ribbed dandelion last year at FM and it's still growing strong in a larger pot now...love that stuff! I also have some portulaca that I enjoy now and then. CAUTION: on weeds growing around schools/parks etc., they might be sprayed with chemicals and/or subject to dog-walking...just sayin' so folks might excercise restraint there.

    1. My yard's still under two feet of snow, so I'm not eating anything. But I usually eat dandelion greens, mustard buds, and Japanese Knotweed shoots. This year I'm gonna try embryonic dandelion flowers, because Bittman says they're good. I've tried goutweed and clover. Not great.

      I second the comment about being aware of pesticides and pet waste. Then again, animals crap in my vegetable garden, and I just throw the poo away and make sure I wash all my veggies really well.

      1. Mustard greens. The dandelion and arugula are too piquant for me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jaykayen

          WHAT??!!! You find mustard greens not piquant? Well, okay...mustard greens give me an awesome noseburn similar to wasabi...do you not taste that also? (everyone's palate is different!)...I also love them! Hell, I love everything, it seems...had fresh dill in an herb mix I bought on sale once...loved it so much in my salad that I also planted some fresh dill. Thanks Jaykayen!

        2. I can't say that I've enjoyed any of the weeds I've eaten....store bought dandelion is OK in a saute, but the stuff I pick from my lawn goes straight to my tortoises. Purslane, which is so highly touted, tastes godawful to me. The one weed which I love, and I haven't had it since my college days, is stinging nettle. My roommate and I used to harvest it by the road side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: EricMM

            Purslane=portulaca...I'm pretty sure...I couldn't think of the word Purslane but I remember my dad who loved plants showing me portulaca in our yard in NJ. Thanks Eric!

          2. I'm a big fan of sorrel, both wild (sheep sorrel) and my own garden-grown large leaf.

            1. I haven't expanded beyond nettles yet...but I luuuuurve nettles. And they're so very nutricious.

              This is inspiring - I'm off to check out the wild man site.

                1. Purslane...believe it or not this succulent weed is supposedly high in Omega-3. Beware...if you plant it, it will grow and get out of control. I know from experience.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ChiliDude

                    Purslane, definitely, as well as sumac berries.

                    1. We're lucky enough to have a few good-sized patches of miner's lettuce in our yard :D I just use it where one would spinach: salad, pasta dishes, etc...

                      1. I've gathered and used the seeds from the wild fennel growing around here.

                        1. Stay away from immediate roadsides an median strips too. Exhaust fumes coat the vegetation.

                          1. Here on the east coast of Qu├ębec, I use the Chenopodium album (white goosefoot or lamb's quarters). It is found in flowerbeds and gardens, a weed yes, but oh so delish. Free food! Unfortunately for us, spring is still 2 months away (still have 4 feet of snow on the ground)
                            Not really considered a weed, my Jerusalem artichokes (Sunchokes) grow like 'em. I planted 5 small tubers a few years ago, and now it is like a mini-forest!

                            1. Thank you - that was fun reading and very interesting! I need to know more!

                              1. I'm glad some of you could relate. I've never seen dandelions for sale. :(

                                You've made me very curious about purslane and nettles.

                                @ chef chicklet: Quite welcome. I love his site. After I read it too much, I start seeing the background scenery around me. I'll find myself stuck in traffic on LA16, or I-10, and the other cars are grumpy and impatient. I'm peering out into the forest and swamp; I'm squinting, trying to figure out what kind mushrooms are growing on a fallen tree. I'll look at the driver in front of me (the one honking in frustration) and wonder if I'll have time to hop out and go check. It's silly, but it might be oyster mushrooms.

                                David Lebovitz has an article about Dandelion Pesto!

                                Also, about poison: Yes, definitely think about what potential poisons may have been sprayed on any plants you eat. But I think this applies to supermarkets as well. If you can find plants that haven't been sprayed with poison (this is a strange kind of adventure to me) then you'll actually be eating something quite healthier than supermarket produce that is clothed in an armor of fungicides and insecticides. If I ever have to teach a class on fire breathing, maybe I should invite some of you cautious folks to assist?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Altarbo

                                  At least agricultural chemicals have been glanced over and approved for use on food products.

                                  Roadside dust, vehicle exhaust, and the industrial-strength herbicides used by most highway departments aren't even looked at. Lots of heavy metals and some high-level toxic stuff that would curl your hair. Roadside foraging isn't all that great an idea.

                                2. Still a litttle early, but we always eat a couple of batches of lambsquarter/goosefoot and poke shoots in the springtime.

                                  1. The blooms on the redbud tree are edible, and quite nice in a salad (it just happens to be that time of year around here). Loquats should be arriving soon, and can be fairly easily chatted off of neighbors hands, if not found growing in the wild. A few years ago, we made sorbet.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: gilintx

                                      I used to make a really delicious jam with loquats.

                                    2. We get enormous dandelion rosettes in the spring. I blanch them and sautee with lots of garlic, red pepper, raisins and pine nuts.

                                      Purslane gets chucked in salads along with my lettuce and arugula.

                                      We have nettles growing all around the garage. I haven't done anything with them before; maybe this year.

                                      We also have fiddleheads just past the house. Wish I actually liked them.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: the_MU

                                        I'd be all over the fiddleheads...but I have such a horrible and painful reaction to nettles (it's not medically severe, just an itchy, blistery rash for about 3 days) you are welcome to all I have, as I can't even entertain the idea of eating them.

                                        ( I know, the heat kills the toxins, etc....but it just ain't worth three days of discomfort if a leaf even brushes against my wrist above my gloves!)