Personally, her classes have given me a new perspective on my own yard. Weeds become a different entity when you consider how nutritious they are! Check out her blog for more info. Here's what we saw today:
|Bedstraw or Cleaver (Galleum). While it has velcro-like leaves and stems that stick to each other and to clothing, the young leaves & stems are surprisingly tender and can be eaten fresh or used in salads.|
|Chickweed (Stellaria). Entire plant is edible raw in early spring. Very tender and mild.|
|Nipplewort (Lapsana communis). Edible flowers and young leaves.|
|Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). Tender and delicious; leaves, stems, and the tiny white flowers that will soon bloom are edible.|
|Shotweed (Cardamine hirsuta). So-called because the seeds shoot off of it all over your garden when you come near it. However, the leaves are very tasty, with a slight peppery tinge. Similar in taste to nasturtium leaves, but milder.|
|Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis). A bitter green, but that's what salad dressings are for!|
|Water Hemlock (Cicuta). Poisonous, absolutely deadly. This plant has similar characteristics to the wild carrot, so both should be avoided until you learn to distinguish them carefully. Don't even touch it.|
|Wild Huckleberry (Ericaceae). Another native that we should be very careful with, an important plant for native wildlife.|
|Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus). Use leaves, after removing the tough midrib, for dolmas or green smoothies. Tiny seeds are edible but hard to remove from their sheathes. Chew up a leaf and apply leaf paste to sooth a nettle sting.|
Blackberry (Rubus) obviously has edible berries, but the young leaves can also be eaten. I know raspberry leaves make a tasty, nourishing tea and now I want to try making tea with blackberry leaves. Any plant in the rose family has edible leaves, flowers, and fruit.
Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) is another PNW native, and the "harbinger of spring" as its leaves are a sign that spring is here. The white flower cluster looks like a face with two leaves that stick up like floppy rabbit ears. The young leaves are tasty, and the plums are somewhat edible. They have a large pit and are mealy.
Large Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) has edible young flower clusters. They can be stir fried in butter in early spring. It's native also.
Rose (Rosaceae rosa) has edible young leaves, petals, and rosehips. Gather rosehips in fall and press through a sieve with the back of a spoon to remove seeds. Mix with honey for a simple, tasty syrup rich in vitamin C.
Mountain Ash Berry (Rosaceae sorbus) also called the Rowan tree, produces large clusters of bright orange/red berries that can be used for jam or wine.
Hawthorne (Crataegus monogyna) has edible leaves but the pomes, like tiny apples, are mealy.
Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) has been used for food in times of starvation, but has very unpleasant, possibly dangerous effects, when consumed due to the formation of oxalic crystals that cut the mouth. Bears use the roots for food in winter, and the plant has medicinal uses.
Snow Berries (Symphoricarpos) have edible, though not sweet, white berries in winter.
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is highly invasive and damaging to salmon habitat. Young asparagus-like reddish shoots can be eaten in spring. Peel outside layer to expose tender middle. Look for shoots near mature knotweed, also called false bamboo because it looks similar to bamboo but is weak and breaks easily.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) has soft green tips that can be eaten in June, along with hemlock, pine, and spruce. A delicious tea can be made from the tips of most evergreen trees, but it sounds like Doug Fir is particularly delicious. Someone mentioned making ice cream from it. It has a sweet, lemony flavor. Also the cones from any trees have edible seeds inside, but most are so small they aren't worth harvesting unless you're a squirrel. However, Monkey Tail Trees (Araucaria araucana) have incredibly huge nuts that are similar to pine nuts, though more fibrous and the size of almonds.
Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) has edible everything (of course, since it's in the rose family)
This is just the beginning! If you're interested in learning more about this, please also check out my post Wild Foraging in April.
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How To Find Edible Weeds
4/ 5Oleh Mellow