Purslane - Found almost everywhere, this weed is becoming very popular in the edible landscape community, and with good reason. Purslane has 5 times the amount of Omega-3 fatty acid than spinach has, and its stems are high in Vitamin C. This succulent weeds' stem is round and smooth and trails along the ground like a vine. It has small, oblong green juicy leaves and it's best harvested in early morning or early evening. You can use purslane raw in a salad or saute for an interesting peppery flavor -- and don't be surprised if you see it on the menu of an upscale restaurant!
Lamb's Quarters - This weed is sometimes called wild spinach, and with good reason. It starts emerging right after the spring spinach is on its way out. Loaded with vitamin A, K and C, this weed can be delicious sauteed in olive oil with garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of lemon. As with all the weeds mentioned, rinsing the leaves thoroughly is recommended.
Kudzu - This crazy southern weed is referred to as the weed that ate the South covering over 7 million acres! This means there is an over-abundant supply available to be eaten. You can make jams and jellies but if you're a first-timer it's best to steam or boil the roots until tender. Adding soy sauce or miso gives this weed a lovely Asian cuisine flair. Kudzu has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries for treating allergies, colds, fevers and also as a digestive aid. Chop a cup of leaves and brew for 30 minutes for a healing tea.
Red Clover - You see this weed all over and it has been commonly known as a folk remedy for cancer, containing photoestrogen genistein. Sprinkle red clover flowers over rice or with soy sauce, adding a punch of protein along with beneficial health aids. You can eat white clover too, but it's not as flavorful.
You can find many of these weeds in your backyard or growing along sidewalks and crevices from suburbia to urban streets. So don't be shy and grab a handful of weeds for a tasty, nutritious alternative to your salads and sauces. Happy foraging!
Garden Media Group