I have a variety of cultivated and volunteer plants in my garden including many that would be classed as “weeds”. From here and my local hedgerows I am currently picking and consuming
Dandelion leaves and roots. (Taraxacum officinale) Leaves for salads and smoothies and roots for roasting or tinctures and possibly also for adding to facto-ferments. I have roots available as I’m having to clear some space in my veg patch, otherwise these would be an autumn pick. Dandelion is an extremely useful blood purifier and tonic for the liver, gall bladder and kidneys.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) Leaves and early flowers. The bulbs are also edible, however I’m foraging a wild plant so digging it up is a no-no without permission of the landowner. And even then for some plants it would be a complete no-no.
Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)
Cleavers (Gallium aparine)
Hairy bittercress – which grows prolifically in the garden, often going to seed behind my back – and Mixed spicy salad leaves including Giant Red Mustard and Mizuna – from those mixed seed packs you can buy. Lots of hot brassica yumminess to lift otherwise boring salads and increase the nutritional punch.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) There’s a fabulous post from Birgit Anna McNeil here which underlines why Nettle can be considered a herb for our times. It is prolific and abundant, so don’t pull that patch in your garden just yet. Further information here too.
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Three-cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum)
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) to be used as spinach. I’ll try most things.
Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) pesto is something I have yet to try as the few leaves I have picked so far this year have gone into a Kimchi style recipe. This is another pernicious weed. It is also a traditional recipe for gout and rheumatism. One of its common names is “goutweed”. This is a member of the Umbellifer family, which contains a number of highly poisonous plants. If you have not harvested this before be very careful with your id. Key the plant out using a good guide and if possible do an Umbellifer workshop with an expert.
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopian japonica) is an invasive weed and there are penalties for planting it. However it can be found wild, often along river and stream banks. Interestingly it became more “available” shortly before a surge in Lyme disease carried by deer ticks and is being investigated as a possible treatment for this condition. It reportedly tastes a little like rhubarb when cooked, however it can be used in both sweet and savoury pickles. It can also be lacto-fermented. I’ve managed to get some tops and young shoots so am trying something similar with longer pieces. Ensure that any unused pieces are burned.
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) which I’m rather keen on. There is some interesting information here on the health benefits of Herb Robert. The leaves and flowers can be added to a salad, it can be tinctured or used as a tea or infusion. It has been traditionally used for many ailments including to support the body undergoing treatment for cancer and for oral health. It is a natural source of ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant, that is also found in pomegranates.
A useful video for this time of year