Friday, May 16, 2008

Edible Weeds in my Garden

I'm going to start Documenting and Edible Plants in my Garden that are not NORMALLY eaten, but are Edible. It's fun to open up your mind to food that is not typically found in supermarkets, and is available everywhere, that grows on its own without us Green-thumbs making it happen!
All these notes are straight from "Plants for a Future":
The images are not my own
"" is a great resource for Californians to visually see what you have growing then compare notes on "Plants for a Future" to see if it's edible or not.

Common Name:Day Flower
Latin Name: Commelina Communis

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Leaves, flowers and young shoots - raw or cooked. Chopped finely and added to salads or cooked as a potherb. A sweet taste with a mucilaginous texture.

Common Name: Dandelion
"Latin Name:Taraxacum officinale - Weber.

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Edible Uses: Coffee; Tea.

Leaves - raw or cooked. When used in salads, they are rather bitter, though less so in the winter. Tender young leaves are considerably less bitter than older leaves. The leaves are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. This will make them less bitter, but they will also contain less vitamins and minerals. A very nutritious food, 100g of the raw leaves contain about 2.7g. protein, 9.2g. carbohydrate, 187mg Calcium, 66mg phosphorus, 3.1mg iron, 76mg sodium, 397mg potassium, 36mg magnesium, 14000iu vitamin A, 0.19mg vitamin B1, 0.26mg vitamin B2, 35mg vitamin C. Root - raw or cooked. Bitter. A turnip-like flavour. Flowers - raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavour, the unopened flower buds can be used in fritters and they can also be preserved in vinegar and used like capers. Both the leaves and the roots are used to flavour herbal beers and soft drinks such as 'Dandelion and Burdock'. The roots of 2 year old plants are harvested in the autumn, dried and roasted to make a very good coffee substitute. It is caffeine-free. A pleasant tea is made from the flowers. They are also used to make wine - all green parts should be removed when making wine to prevent a bitter flavour. The leaves and the roots can also be used to make tea.

Common Name:Dwarf Mallow
Latin Name: Malva pusilla - Sm.
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour, it can be used in quantity and makes an excellent salad plant. It is possibly the best for flavour in this genus though it is much lower yielding than the annual M. verticillata 'Crispa' or the perennials M. alcea and M. moschata. Seed - raw or cooked. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and very fiddly to harvest.

Known Hazards:
Although we have seen no reports of toxicity for this species, when grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the leaves of some species tend to concentrate high levels of nitrates in their leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Common Name: Pot Marigold
Latin Name: Calendula officinalis

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Leaves - Can be eaten raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value. Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy. It is, above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins etc. It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections. Only the common deep-orange flowered variety is considered to be of medicinal value. The whole plant, but especially the flowers and the leaves, is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, skin, stimulant and vulnerary. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, they are best harvested in the morning of a fine sunny day just after the dew has dried from them. The flowers are also used fresh or dried, for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, can ease varicose veins. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts will soon render them easily removable. The leaves, blossoms and buds are used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used internally in order to speed the healing of wounds.

Common Name:Sweet Alyssum
Latin Name: Lobularia maritima

Edible Uses: Condiment.
The young leaves, stems and flowers are sometimes used as a flavouring in salads and other dishes where pungency is required.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is commonly used in Spain as an antiscorbutic and diuretic. It is also highly esteemed there as an astringent in the treatment of gonorrhoea.


ladyichigo said...

Mmm...I think I've had dandelion before! (it's photographically documented too!) According to the photos, dandelions are not very tasty. lol

AJK said...

LOL, yup! It DOES state that it's definitely bitter! However, I DO find them selling bunched up dandelion leaves at Whole Foods Market!!! Why BUY them from the grocery store if you can water them in your yard! I find it absurd.

ladyichigo said...

Seriously...the things they try to "sell" to you these days.

You know I was watching the Food Network the other day and they have a restaurant somewhere in this country that has "Make your own Smores" thing on its menu. It comes with a little hot plate full of glowing charcoal, marshmallows, graham crackers and a chocolate bar.

OOOOOhh let's go to a restaurant and eat Smores!! :P

tennisfozzy said...

i am not sure if my post went through, here's the link on veggies/fruits r.o.i.

tennisfozzy said...

I was reading the latest issue of Wired Magazine in San Francisco. Interesting:

They also say organic food is good for the body but not for the planet.

Maybe its better to grow organic food in your backyard but do not buy them at the market.

AJK said...

animal products are the problem. meats,milks, eggs cost a lot in terms of feed and water, plus land. If we can just all eat a lot more veggies, it would solve a lot of things, including obesity. Poultry and fish are less consumptive than cows in terms of return for goods. Try soymilk!

AJK said...

how far your food travels is another major problem. I've realized lately how far out of season fruits and veggies travel and have been reluctant to purchase them. Pears for Argentina! Zucchini from Mexico! We all need to become Localvores more. Backyard is best because it's only a few yards in transport, and by walking!

AJK said...

buying local produce, for example from farmer's markets, helps the local economy as well, and promotes a self-sustaining community instead of dependence on a global scale economy.

My role-models say this about food:

"If not from BACKYARD, then Locally produced
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade." ~ Dervaes family

tennisfozzy said...

the wired magazine article stired a lot of complaints, here's one (in wired magazine famous one sentence message):
Buy a teepee.
Open the window and don't be afraid to sweat.
Stop eating so much.
Forests must first be destroyed before they can be farmed.
China is the solution; yea, right.
Yea, right again, Monsanto will take care of us as long as we take care of them.
Reducing carbon burning works. Stop flying. After 9/11 there was an instant change in global temperature.
But wait til we figure out what to do with the waste, you will not like it.
Hybrids save lungs. But fewer people works better.
The worst is already upon us. If it is not turned around and toxins aren't contained the planet will break in jumps like we have never imagined.
Global warming is not the major problem. It can be reversed. Toxins in the environment are the real killers. Nuclear waste is everywhere. China lost something like 50 or so radioactive sites in the earthquake.