When most people think about food, they probably think about the grocery store or a favorite restaurant. Maybe they think about their garden or a local farm. Chances are, though, that they don’t think about their backyard or the hike they took last week in the woods. They probably don’t think about the side of the road or the cracks in the sidewalk.
Well, I’m going to change that. I’m going to talk about weeds.
Weeds get a bad rap, but many are edible. Not only that—some have more nutrients and vitamins than anything you’ll find in the produce section at your grocery store.
Here are five common plants that you’ve seen a million times but probably didn’t know you could eat. A couple of warnings though. If you’re looking at grounds that might have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, or have been polluted in any other way—I’m looking at you, dogs of the world—find somewhere else to forage. And if you have any doubts whatsoever about a plant, don’t eat it!
Not surprisingly, the leaves of this plant smell and taste just like garlic. You can find it pretty much anywhere: backyards, fields, empty lots, and forests. You can eat the leaves and flowers raw in a salad or chop them up to season sauces. The leaves of second-year plants can get big, so if you find a good patch, you can easily bring home a full-blown salad.
While you might not have known the name of this weed, which it shares with that banana doppelganger, you’ve probably seen it just about every single day of your life. Literally. It can be found in backyards and fields, along roads, and sprouting from cracks in the sidewalk. You’ll probably just want to eat the smaller, younger leaves. The bigger ones are edible, but they can be pretty bitter. Plantain is also known as “nature’s band-aid.” So if you cut yourself, just chew some up, wad it on, and let the healing begin.
Everyone with a lawn hates this weed. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It’s packed with more nutrients and vitamins than a tomato. And you can eat the entire thing, flower, stalk, leaves, and all. As with plantain, the small leaves are best.
This common plant can be found in lawns, fields, and forest clearings. It’s easily confused with clover, but that’s fine because you can eat that too. Wood sorrel is high in vitamin C and has a sour, lemony zing to it. It’s a great addition to any salad. You can eat the leaves, flowers, and seed pods. You can even make tea with it.
Look out over anyone’s yard, and you just might see some extra-tall, dark green stalks rising above the lawn. That’s wild onion grass—probably. It’s easy to check. If it smells like onions (or garlic) it’s fine to eat. If it doesn’t smell like either of those, don’t eat it. The great thing about onion grass is that it’s a free alternative to something you might otherwise have bought at the store. Never pay for scallions or chives again!
Warning: Eat plants at your own risk. CollectiveLifestyle.com is not responsible for any injury, loss, expense, death, or damage of any kind from consuming plants recommended on our site.
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