Eradicating weeds from your landscape is pretty much a never-ending task. Just when you think they’re all gone, you blink and another appears. We pluck them, toss them, and never think about it again. But what if we’re doing it all wrong? Think about it. Weeds compete with your lawn and garden vegetables for nutrients, absorbing as much as they can get. It’s the reason they grow so quickly. So why let this overload of nutrients go to waste? I’m not talking about composting, I’m talking about making them your next meal. Here are three nutrient-filled edible weeds you’ll find in your garden and yard.
Dandelions are abundant, versatile and highly nutritious. They grow just about anywhere and you can eat the weed in its entirety. It’s packed with Vitamin A, E, K, B6, B2, B1, and C. The leaves are bitter and will taste even more so now that we’re close to fall. The bitterness helps to curb sugar cravings and is great for digestion. The roots are said to be a natural pick-me-up. Try roasting the root and mixing in a tea with honey. Also try mixing the yellow flowers in with stir-fly, or top your next salad with the chopped leaves.
Purslane is a little-known “superfood” high in heart-healthy Omega-3’s and beta carotene. In fact, Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other green plant. It can be found in the cracks of sidewalks and just about anywhere throughout your landscape. The leaves are moisture-rich and have a tart lemon tang with an almost peppery arugula taste. Mix young Purslane raw with other greens, or eat it with oily/pungent foods like olives.
Lamb’s Quarter is a leafy green that is basically a souped-up version of spinach. For comparison, just one cup of chopped lamb’s quarter gives you 464 mgs of calcium (compared to 30 in spinach), and 66 mgs of vitamin C (8.4 mg in spinach). It’s also rich in iron, protein, and Vitamins A, B1 and B2. The leaves can be sautéed or added to soup and you can cook the seeds like rice to make a hot and whole grain cereal. The seeds can also be used to make multi-grain breads. Note: Like spinach, Lamb’s Quarter contains oxalates and should be consumed in smaller amounts or mixed in with other greens.