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Don’t spray them, make a salad!

July 7, 2012

What one might think is a pesky weed, might actually be a delectable edible. A few years ago, a number of municipalities across Canada, including all of Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, the latter of which is home to Fresh Earth Farm, placed restrictions on the use of lawn pesticides. Now you can look to your lawn or a grassy meadow for new and exciting meal ideas.

This is not just a field of unwanted weeds with one lonely pumpkin plant, but a field of endless opportunity.

Partly due to the fact that I’ve been reading The Hunger Games, I have this urge to learn about edible roots and shoots that grow in the wild (and also take up archery). Knowing which are poisonous is also a good idea. Though I don’t have to train for a fight-to-the-death/last-man-standing-wins type of competition in the foreseeable future, there is always the possibility that you may get lost in the woods and need to forage for food. Unless you have a smartphone with a GPS to help you find your way home, and even then the battery may die, then this information could one day save your life. Or just help you save some cash.

Dandelions, or Taraxacum, should not be stepped on as it is a most beneficial weed. Dandelion leaves contain an array of vitamins, such as A, C and K, and minerals including calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. The roots have been found to kill cancer cells, according to research from the University of Windsor, so grind up those roots and make some tea!

Red clover (Trifolium pretense) is pretty and tasty. They are great in tea and in salads. These wonderful weeds are thought to boost the immune system and have been used to treat coughs and respiratory congestion.

Lamb’s quarters, Chenopodium album, are another new favorite of mine. This relative of spinach is quite nutritious, though it contains oxalic acid which is toxic is high amounts (600 mg/kg), so limit your intake.

Buttercups are also in abundance here, but it’s a good thing I looked up whether or not they are edible before taking a bite because they can KILL YOU!!!!

After a week of weeding I have become more fascinated with weeds than annoyed. I love them so much that I decided to make a salad with lamb’s quarters, dandelion leaves, and red clover. Make sure the field in which you gather your weeds is not sprayed or polluted. YUK!

There are plenty of strawberries here too, so I harvested a bunch of those and added them to the weed salad. I also made a creamy (and vegan!) dressing to go with.

To make this dressing you will need a blender to mix all the ingredients together. I didn’t measure out the quantity for each ingredient, so you will have to improvise, like I did.

Creamy Salad Dressing:

  • Olive Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Raw Mushrooms (I used a pint of button mushrooms)
  • Raw Almonds (about a handful)
  • Mustard
  • Garlic (I used two cloves)
  • Ginger root (an inch will do)
  • Maple Syrup
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt

Mix it all together…and voila! A weed-y salad!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Selena permalink
    July 8, 2012 12:50 PM

    Amazing! Looks wonderfully delectable too. x

  2. Jayson permalink
    July 8, 2012 1:01 PM

    The salad was delicious!

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