Weeds that are full of benefits

Seems their reputation could use an upgrade! “Weeds” are most often plants that have a great many appealing characteristics, some of which you can actually savor around the dinner table!

Edible weeds

edible weedMost quick-sprouting plants aren’t poisonous, quite the opposite actually!

Their leaves usually contain more nutrients than regular vegetables.

Those of nettles thus contain three times more iron than spinach.

Also a source of protein, vitamins and minerals, with a surprisingly rich taste, they can enhance everyday meals.

Taste also ground elder, fleawort, white goosefoot, sow thistle and black mustard!

Don’t forget plants that bear edible flowers to decorate mixed salads, like mallow.

Cooking weeds

Leaves are often cooked like spinach, in soups, baked dishes, quiches and pies.

Younger leaves are delicious in mixed salads.

Lastly, a great many weeds boast medicinal properties and can be used both topically (external use) or ingested (internal use) to treat daily ailments.

Correctly identifying the species is important and it’s important to refer to specialized books and experts.

Sometimes local government units, forestry departments and charities organize seminars to learn how to recognize plants: ask around you if you’ve heard of such opportunities.

Let the weeds live on!

The time when weeds were wiped out with buckets of herbicides is long gone. Knowledgeable gardeners now aim for a peaceful coexistence with weeds. On bare ground, these act as free ground cover which protect, nourish and aerate the soil with their deep roots that furrow for nutrients.

In the vegetable patch, of course, weeds must be kept under control. It’s possible to pull them out and toss them in the compost when seedlings sprout so that they don’t compete with crops. However, once the crops have grown, they can live together to a certain extent, especially if they’re edible: harvesting them for food every now and then will control their expansion as well!

beneficial weedsRead also: The Good Weeds [Les Bonnes Mauvaises Herbes], François Couplan, Sang de la Terre publishing house.

François Couplant also offers trainings and awareness programs about discovering edible and medicinal plants, see www.couplan.com

Laure Hamann