Eat Weeds your Guide to Wild Foraging for Food

Eat Weeds is Gypsy's next entry. She looks at free food we should be harvesting rather than spraying; lambs quarters, plantain, wild amaranth and German dock.

I have noticed a huge trend in people buying more stuff to be more self-sufficient. Most of the trends relate to marketing and not to fact. If one well known “homesteader” or well publicized “survivalist” says you should own something or do something, well everyone takes that as the gospel.

Think about this for a moment, who pays for that well-known person’s publicity? It's marketing, not fact. If your grandma raised 12 kids on it, it's fact. Fact is, grandma did not have solar power, she did not have a generator either, she had common sense and whether she knew it or not, a basic knowledge of chemistry.

We have talked a bit about my kitchen before. More to the point, the jars on my kitchen counter that hold things I use a lot. For most people it's coffee, tea, sugar and flour. For me, it's sumac, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (dried of course) and whatever else I feel important at the time.

At the time of this writing there are a variety of dried vegetables in one jar, some dried plantain and lambs quarters in another, the sumac and mushrooms will never change. The kitchen is where the home meets survival. This is where families discuss the day, and where nutrition and healing begin. The kitchen is the hub of the home.

Eat Weeds!


Common Lambsquarters

There are some very simple things that if done this time of the year can better your health and your eating habits. Eat weeds! Go foraging for food and pick lambsquarters. This, like the thistle, will never be eradicated. This is a plant known to solve any malnutritional issues. It has vitamins, minerals, even vitamin C. I dry this plant and chop into small pieces, then store in bags or jars. When I make homemade noodles I put some in the noodles.

Chicken and dumplings are filling, but nutritious they are not. Add lambsquarters to the dumplings and now you have a nutritious meal. Eating isn’t about food, it's about filling the body so it can survive. Some people eat to live, others live to eat. Only you know which one you are. You can take these dried greens, including plantain, and reheat and serve as you would any green. You can add them to casseroles, etc.

There is no dish I can think of I can’t add them to. In the winter time, they are a staple food for those wanting to be healthy, and self-sufficient. Mixing plantain and lambsquarters is just a good idea, nutritionally speaking.

Another much over-looked plant is wild amaranth. The whole plant is good for you and can be used in salads, cooking etc. The seeds are a cereal not to be underestimated. The tops of German Dock make great stir fry.

I urge you to take a look at what weeds you don’t like, and look them up, see if you can eat them before you spray them. My challenge to you is fine 3 new plants a week until the frost comes that you can use. I bet you find more then 3. Eat weeds! It's fun, and it's healthy. Best yet ... it's free!

Please make sure that whatever weed you have chosen to eat has been correctly identified by a local expert.

By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger from One Sky Ranch

Gypsy's Wanderings Homestead Blog

From our side:

There are other weeds that one can eat, pigweed, garlic mustard, dandelion, puslane and shepherd's purse. Any of these weeds can be on your list when foraging for food.

Just make sure that you have identified your weeds before you eat them, and make sure that they haven't been sprayed before you eat them! Never eat weeds growing along side a busy road, because of the toxins from cars and other vehicles.

And don't let young children see you foraging as you never know if they may do the same thing and end up eating poisonous berries, fungi or plants.

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My daughter goes foraging for Mushrooms here in Canada. There are chanterelles - they are good. Dandelions have lots of vitamins too, and stinging nettle …

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