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Edible Weeds


(B)eat weeds!

The annoying habit of weeds to grow fast (and often better than the vegetables they smother!) is good news for foragers. 


Follow these rules for weed eating: check and double check the identification; pick new leaves; pick leaves before flowering; pick only from areas that haven't been sprayed; and wash everything before using. These are our top 5 weeds.



(Taraxacum officinale)

Harvest at different stages. Before flowering, use central leaves in stir fries or salads. The yellow buds can be used in omelettes, and the petals of the flowers can decorate salads. 

Photo - Linda Ross


(Portulaca oleracea)

This weed is easy to recognise by its low, spreading, starburst formation. Leaves can be used raw or cooked. The succulent top leaves have a crisp tart flavour. Use with yoghurt to neutralise the oxalic acid content.

Photo - Linda Ross


(Urtica urens)

Identify by sight alone! Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to 'de-sting'. Strip the young leaves from the stems and use as a spinach substitute (especially good in spanakopita).

Photo - Linda Ross


(Stellaria media)

Identify this plant by the line of hairs that grows on the back of each stem. Harvest before flowering. Use the top 4cm of the leaves, chopped finely in salads, sandwiches or pesto.

Photo - Linda Ross


(Matva parviflora)

Mallow will grow anywhere, pioneering new areas and creating better conditions for other weeds by opening up hard soil with its long taproot. Use leaves in salads or cooked in spinach pie.

Photo - Linda Ross

Text Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross