Earlier today I led a Wild Food Walk and Talk with a lovely group of people. I had promised to send them some of the information that I had shared and thought that you might be interested as well.
These are the main, very common weeds that we identified. They all grow in my front and back yard garden, and I bet you’d find many of them close to you too.
- sow thistle
- bull thistle
- wood sorrel
- wild spinach or lambsquarters
As I mentioned, you can find all of these plants in your neighborhood parks and even on your own property if you aren’t too fastidious about picking ‘weeds’. The closer the plants are to your home, the more likely you are to use them. Therefore, my suggestion is to let at least some of your land be wild. Make sure the soil is rich by adding compost, manure and other soil amendments (I like Urban Harvest) and let time and nature do the rest. Seedlings will show up in mysterious ways and you’ll have fun watching them grow, identifying them, and then adding them to your meals. Hopefully the pictures from the links above will help. You could also transplant weeds from other areas of your garden, drop seeds from mature plants, or even purchase seeds (Richter’s Herbs has them all).
I also love John Kallas’ book Edible Wild Plants. It’s a passionate book that covers only the 13 most common edible North American wild plants in great depth, along with their extensive benefits, with lots of photos and recipes, as well as photo comparisons with not to be mistaken look-a-likes.
I primarily use wild plants in these ways:
- in smoothies
- in a refreshing wild plant green drink
- in pesto
- in green smoothie powder
Wild Greens Smoothie (from The New Enlightened Eating)
This recipe is a starting point for many possible combinations. Since it’s August, and peaches are my favorite fruit they are the star of this recipe.
3 peaches, pitted and coarsely chopped
Juice of 2 oranges (about 1 cup), or use water
2 cups wild greens (such as dandelion, lamb’s-quarter, wild spinach, mallow, stinging nettle, or purslane), lightly packed
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup water, plus more as needed
4 pitted soft dates
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute on high speed. Add more water if necessary to thin to the desired consistency. Serve immediately.
Savory Wild Plant Green Drink
The ingredients for this refreshing light elixir are blended and strained for a clear bright green drink.
2 cups loosely packed wild greens (use one type or a variety – I walk through my garden in the morning, blender jar in hand, and use what I’m drawn to)
1/2 cucumber with peel
1 green apple, chopped
2 cups water
Blend on high for about a minute. Strain through a nut milk bag, cheese cloth, or a fine strainer.
Wild Greens Pesto (from Enlightened Eating Through the Seasons, SPRING recipes)
Use over noodles, to add flavor to soups, or as a spread for crackers or bread. It’s great as a salad dressing too, instead of oil (add a splash of lemon or apple cider vinegar). Freeze in small containers and pull out for memories of summer during the cold winter months.
1/3 cup walnuts, pumkin seed, cashews or pine nuts, or a combination
1 cup lightly packed nettles, lambsquarters, wood sorrel or purslane leaves or a combination
1 cup lightly packed fresh spinach (or cilantro, or basil)
6 wild leek leaves, or 1 large garlic clove
8 chive leaves
1 – 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Wild Plant Green Smoothie Powder
Collect edible weeds when they are in season throughout the spring and summer. Hang to dry, or spread on mesh trays and let air dry, or dry in a dehydrator. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and grind into a powder. Store in a dark jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon to smoothies throughout the fall and winter.
I hope you enjoy getting to know the plant beings in your world.