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": http://www.pfaf.org/index.php
The images are not my own
"http://www.calflora.org/" 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.
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.
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.
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.