My other title is: Why YOU Should Eat Your "Weedies"
Several years ago I was introduced to the idea of eating my weeds, or put more politely “invasive species” by my Ayurvedic teacher Cate Stillman. I was intrigued but didn’t know where to start. Three years ago after having accrued my very first garden, I was a raw beginner and didn’t know an invasive species from a cultivated one. But I was curious and the desire was there to learn more and integrate these superfoods into my diet (more specifically my green smoothies). Over the past few years, foraging has become more widespread and is picking up speed - and for good reason! Below are a few of my reasons for eating my “weedies”:
It’s free. My husband calls me “depression-era Dana”. I hate wasting. I squeeze my toothpaste tubes to death. Organic produce is expensive! You have an abundance of chlorophyll-packed greens right in your backyard!
It’s environmentally responsible. Take eating “green” to a whole new level. Wild-crafting is local, sustainable, seasonal and organic (provided you don’t spray your yard) AND your carbon footprint is non-existent.
It’s healthier. Farmed veggies have less phytonutrients than their wild ancestors and weeds that haven't been subjected to thousands of years of selective breeding.
It’s detoxifying. Green = clean. Leafy greens are bitter and many have pungent and astringent tastes which, according to Ayurveda, help clean the blood and detoxify the bodily tissues.
It’s stress-relieving. A stroll in nature is one of the best ways to ground and calm yourself.
It’s retro. Channel your hunter-gatherer ancestors. It’s the real-deal Paleo diet!
It’s life-affirming. Foraging connects you to the abundant nature of the universe and cultivates gratitude and appreciation for earth’s many gifts. It fosters trust in the fact that you are supported by life.
Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side?
Mild, entry level weeds include: lamb’s quarters (contains more protein, calcium, and vitamins B1 and B2 than cabbage or spinach)
Purslane (has the highest amount of absorbable heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant AND scientists also report that this herb has 10 to 20 times more melatonin—an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth—than any other fruit or vegetable tested)
and chickweed (high in protein, liver decongestant, dissolves cysts, appetite suppressant)
For the more daring: dandelion (excellent liver and kidney detoxifier, ranks in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value):
How to eat them: Blend them into a green smoothie, add to salad or sautéed greens, make superfood “greens” powder (see below) or bittersweet treats (see below).
WILD GREEN SUPERFOOD POWDER FOR WINTER (DRY IN SUMMER OR FALL) byCate Stillman
De-Stem & Dehydrate at 110 degrees (or spread on your trampoline in the heat of summer), until crisp:
1 lb dandelion leaves
1 lb lambs quarter
1 lb thistle
1 lb nettles
1 lb chickweed, or whatever else you have too much of!
Once the leaves are dry you may choose to put them in a coffee grinder or vitamix to make a powder. Store in a dark glass jar in a cool cupboard.
Add teaspoon of this powder in your smoothies in the winter.
BITTERSWEET TREATS a brilliant idea from Celeste Davidson: Dried cherries (or other dried berries or raisins) wrapped in dandelion leaves
This beautiful book is an excellent guide and cookbook to inspire you to go wild : )