Monday, November 12, 2012

Edible Weeds

A list of common, edible weeds, by request, as it relates to my ongoing fictional survival story.  This is what I have used/planned.  There are probably a million other edible weeds/recipes, and certainly lots of things that don't grow in my area, so google away for more ideas/info.

 All parts are edible.
Leaves may be used for salad, like lettuce, or cooked as greens, like spinach.  Less bitter in early season.
Buds are excellent in soups and stews, easy to blanch and freeze.
Flowers may be battered and fried as fritters (one egg, one cup milk, one cup of flour, mix well.) Excellent with jam or syrop.
Dandelion Fritters
Flowers may be used to make dandelion syrop. (Pick and wash flowers.  Separate flower petals from green base and put in pot.  Add 4 Cups water.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer, covered, 1 hour.  Remove from heat.  Steep overnight.  Drain and save liquid.  Discard flowers.  Add 2 Cups sugar.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer until desired consistency.  BWB 10 minutes.)
Roots are used for coffee/tea.  (Trim and wash, wash, wash, then wash again.  Chop/dice/grind roots into little pieces.  Spread on cookie sheets.  Bake @ 250°F 2 hours or until coffee coloured.)  I add a half cup or so to each new can of coffee I open and mix it in, then make coffee as normal.  Can be steeped for tea by themselves, or added to other tea ingredients.  I make a pot of tea with one tea bag and herbs.  Better instructions and recipes here.


Leaves in salad or cooked like spinach.  I find them tough and bitter, but that could be my soil.  Excellent as a poultice for cuts and scrapes. 
Seeds can be ground for flour.
Seeds as rice- I just learned this today.

Entire plant is edible.
Fall- Roots (Rhizomes)- as flour/starch.  (Dig, wash, peel, smash, soak in water overnight.  Drain off water and floaties.  Spread and dry.)
Spring- Stalks- like asparagus.  (Pull, wash, cook white portion and tender green parts at base).
Summer- Flower head- while still green, like corn on the cob.
Pollen- flour in the spring.  (Shake into paper bag).

Wild Carrot- use root like carrot.  Make sure you can tell the difference between wild carrot and poison hemlock before attempting these.

Clover- Best when tender in the spring.  Eat leaves raw, in salad, or cooked like spinach. 
Flowers can be used to flavour drinks.

Leaves and Stems in salads, or cooked as a side dish.  Good in soups and stews.

Stems and Leaves- in salads, omelettes, soups and stews.

Fiddleheads- Early Spring- pick, wash and steam or boil.  Good with butter and salt, as a side dish.

Other Ideas

10 edible weeds to enjoy from the garden

Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants

Free Food in Your Yard: Edible Weeds!

Edible Weeds

Wild Edible Plants of Quebec


  1. Wendy,Thanks for putting this list and links together. I've always been interested in stuff like this and with your help, can increase my brain power.

    PS - I've heard fiddleheads make a great fitter also.

    1. Thanks, herdog. I'll have to try that in the spring.

  2. Wendy - i love these kinds of posts! thanks for going into such detail as to what to do with the various "weeds". we have all of the things you listed growing here - like everywhere!!! and a bunch of other stuff too. there is so much food to be found growing wild - you just have to know what to look for and what to do with it.

    in your story you made the cattail flour/starch. do you do that for real? how is it?

    your friend,

    1. Nope. Not yet, anyway. I keep meaning to try it, but every time I go by a nice stand of cattails I'm wearing inappropriate foot wear. I need to make a special trip out in the woods to gather them one of these days!

  3. The farm we sold this summer had purslane and Lamb's Quarter (our very favorite) in abundance. I've had a hard time growing spinach here but Lamb's Quarter is as good and at least as nutritious. Hopefully we'll have it here at our new place. We also use dandelion leaves but haven't tried the rest of the plant. Luckily my kids are always game to try this stuff. We have poke greens here in WV that are great if picked at the right time and cooked correctly.Use those "weeds"! I've also heard plantain is bitter. Maybe good as a survival food. I'll have to play around with different methods of preparing it next summer. Great post.

    1. Oh, thankyou! I just googled lamb's quarters. I fight that stuff in the garden every year, lol. I guess it'll be on the menu next year too!

  4. I am quite sure I have plantain. It grows best in the path where I walk. Some day, I will get up the nerve to eat some. My poke salat is up to my shoulder. Yes, the yard is neglected.

    1. Most likely. They're quite prolific, and grow pretty much everywhere.