Don't Kill Those Weeds In Your Yard! EAT THEM And Other "Wild Thangs" Growing In The Woods And Fields!!
Once You Learn How To Identify Edible Plants And Learn The Proper Preparation and Cooking, You Will Have Found Mother Nature's Naturally Growing Bounty!
OK now, where do we start? Why in your own backyard of course!!
More than likely you already have edible "weeds", edible flowers, and edible fungi/mushrooms just waiting there in your backyard to be identified, harvested, and eaten!
It should go without saying that, you DO NOT harvest anything where the edibles have been treated with pesticides or weed killers or that may have been exposed to fecal matter or other bio-toxins spread by mankind or animals. Stay away then from farming areas and roadsides where the highway department always uses these chemicals. Know your landscape and growing environments for a safe harvest. Also, don't forget to wash your harvests in potable water too before preparing for cooking and eating!
Not only are there a LOT of edible and nutritious plants to be identified and harvested, there are also plenty of edible FUNGI too! You probably have many times seen those fungi (mushrooms) growing almost everywhere in the woodlands BUT YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY IDENTIFY AND AVOID THE POISONOUS ONES!! There are clubs that you can join to teach this vital skill!! That is highly recommended too plus, it's fun to mushroom hunt as a group outing too for the camaraderie and fellowship that it affords.
In any event, a solid field guide or guides with color picture is CRUCIAL to making proper identification and avoid the possibility of poisoning or killing yourself. THESE FIELD GUIDES ARE CRITICALLY ESSENTIAL along with experienced knowledgeable persons!!
I will split this article into three text parts. This first part will address edible plants and the second part will address edible FLOWERS and the third part, edible FUNGI/MUSHROOMS..
Edible Plants; Their Names And How To Use
First, and I repeat myself again here, please make sure you purchase comprehensive field guides and handbooks on identifying edible plants and make sure that it includes color pictures of each plant rather than just a verbal description. Remember, a picture is always worth a thousand words, maybe more. Do not use this as your guide. This is just for informational overview only.
Note also, that this listing is JUST A SMALL SAMPLING OF EDIBLE 'WILD" PLANTS. You will need a comprehensive field guide to really learn the skill of identification and uses and cooking instructions and preparations.
Dandelions; Edible parts: leaves, flowers, and roots. When to harvest; from Spring through Fall. Blossoms best harvested when young. The flowers can also be used to make dandelion wine and jelly. The leaves and flowers add raw to salads and you can also sautee the leaves. The roots make a coffee substitute.
Blackberries; Edible parts: Fruit, leaves and roots.. When to harvest; Late Summer.
Cattails; Edible Parts; Shoots, flower heads and pollen. When to Harvest; Late Spring. Uses: Eat peeled shoots raw and in salads; add them to stir-fry or enjoy them cooked.
Chicory; Edible parts; Flowers, leaves and roots. When to harvest: Spring through Fall but best when young. Use same as you would dandelions.
Japanese Knotweed; Edible part; Young shoots. When to harvest; Early Spring before plant gets woody. Uses; Use in place of rhubarb or steam it and add it to soups or to make jam.
Lamb's Quarters; Edible parts; Leaves (also known as goosefoot) with a nutty flavor and stems. Uses: Add raw to salads or sauté and serve in lieu of spinach. Seeds also edible and a good source of protein, vitamin A and other vitamins and minerals.
Plantain; Edible parts; Leaves and seeds. When to harvest; Spring through Fall. Uses; Add the young leaves to salads, sauté the older leaves and you can eat the seeds raw or roasted.
Purslane; Edible parts; Leaves, stems, flowers and seeds. Harvest; Summer Uses; Add raw to salads, toss in soups, boil or sauté it.
Burdock/Yellow Dock; Edible parts; The long taproot. Uses; Both as a food and as a medicinal herb. Good source of calcium, and potassium and dietary fiber and certain minerals.
Nettles; Edible parts; Leaves Uses; Use as spinach or cooked in soup. Also can be used as a vegetarian source of rennet for cheesemaking.
Amaranth also known as Pigweed; Edible Parts; Seeds and roots. Uses; good source of protein and leaves cooked same as quinoa. Mature root is edible too.
Clover; Edible parts; clover leaves and flowers both white and red. Uses; Use small amount of leaves chopped into salads and the flowers can be eaten raw, cooked or dried for tea.
Chickweed; Edible parts; Leaves, stems and flowers. Uses; Eat raw or cooked. Delicate spinach like taste.
Mallow/Malva also known as Cheeseweed; Edible parts; Leaves and seed pods. Uses; Raw or cooked. Better when younger.
Curly Dock; Edible Parts; See above for Yellow Dock.
Sheep Sorrel: Also known as Sourgrass. Add chopped grass to your favorite seafood sauce or as a rhubarb substitute and you can also make a puree with butter milk or cream, salt and pepper to taste.
Wood Sorrel; Use same a Sheep Sorrel above.
This is just a sampling. There are MANY MORE!
Chives; Garlicky flavor great for many dishes.
Chamomile; Faint apple flavor. Popular use as a tea.
Nasturtiums; Blooms add color and taste to summer salads.
Lavender; Used to flavor bread, cookies, jelly, beef, wine, sauces, stews and custards. Flavor is flowery, sweet and citrusy.
Forsythia; Popular yellow springtime flower. Blossoms are slightly spicy and minty and bitter. Add as garnish to salads.
Borage; Slight cucumber like flavor. Use
Tuberous Begonias; Leaves, flowers and stems are edible. Blossoms have a citrus/sour taste. Can use in place of rhubarb but flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and avoided by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones or rheumatism.
Wax Begonias; Leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. Slightly bitter aftertaste.
Calendula (also called Marigolds); Taste resembles saffron. Ranges from spicy to bitter. Sprinkle on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters and salads.
Carnations; Can be steeped in wine, candy or used as cake decoration. Use the sweet petals in desserts after cutting away the bitter white base of the flower. Petals add color to salads or aspics.
Chrysanthemums; Peppery to mild cauliflower flavor. Should be blanched first and use petals in salads. Leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar.
Cornflowers; Also called Bachelors Button. Used primarily as a food garnish. Slightly sweet to spicy and the bloom is a natural food dye.
Dames Rocket; Part of the mustard family, resemble phlox are deep lavender, add to salads but can be quite bitter.
Day Lilies; Use in moderation as may have a diuretic or laxative effect.
English Daisy; Petals used more for looks and as a garnish
MUSHROOMS/FUNGI! Be Very, VERY CAREFUL!!!
As you can see from the following, there are MANY edible Fungi/Mushrooms out there.
Safely enjoy the learning experience and the gourmet dining treats that they offer you.
Species found: 283
Now that's A LOT of species however, they have various classifications. This primary group are classified as "VERY TASTY" . The link to the site will take you to the rest of the species and further to include thos used for medicinal purposes, as a spice of if DEADLY POISON!!
Color pictures of each are found on that site as well.
Beefsteak False Morel
(Disciotis venosa var. venosa)
Blewit - Lepista luscina
Blushing Beard Truffle
Bolete - Suillus collinitus
Bolete - Suillus collinitus
Bolete - Xerocomellus ripariellus
(Russula sp. 1)
(Russula sp. 2)
Brittlegill - Russula graveolens
Brittlegill - Russula grisea
Brown Birch Bolete
Bulbous Honey Fungus
Butter Cap f. asema
(Rhodocollybia butyracea var. asema)
Butter Cap f. butyracea
(Rhodocollybia butyracea f. butyracea)
Chicken of the woods
(Chroogomphus fulmineus) Page:
The above are just a few by name, see next statement to be able to go to the full link.
Please click on the following link to take you to the site showing all species with further explanations and pictures of each.
When you click on the following link it will bring you only to the category of "very tasty" of which there are only 28 species out of the total of 283 which can be researched further on that website if you choose. ENJOY!
Here is the link; Edible - very tasty