Edible Weeds: Did You Know You Can Eat the Weeds?

A primer on edible weeds and how to use them, and other cool facts.
Eat The Weeds infographic
 Artwork by KT Shepherd.

Disclaimer: Don’t eat ANY plant unless you are sure you know what it is! This goes double for mushrooms, which can, seriously, kill you. 

Edible weeds for fun and profit

Never pull a plant you don’t recognize. 

​When we’re having fun in the garden, it can be all too easy to get super enthusiastic and start a-yankin’ and a-murdering every plant that isn’t something we planted.


Get to know every single plant that grows in your garden. Learn the common and botanical names, and learn what they’re good for.

Then, when you do the weeding, you know which plants to dry for the kitchen, which to put in the salad, which to make into compost tea, and which to leave in the ground!

​Four reasons why this is SO important:

  1. They could be dynamic accumulators. So-called weeds can be telling you stuff about your soil, and they can also be working to improve it. Here’s a downloadable compilation of dynamic accumulators and what they do.
  2. They could be poisonous. Some edible weeds can cause skin rashes or worse. Learn what you’re working with to avoid problems!
  3. They could be edible. All of our garden vegetables once were weeds! They were selected, bred, and intentionally crafted, by many generations of farmers, to be so big and yummy as we know them now. And many of them have delicious, nutritious cousins that grow all by themselves in our gardens. 

    This article will get you started on the Top 12 Yummiest edible Weeds, and don’t miss this recipe for Purslane Relish.

    AND: a handy guide to Nutritional Value AND Toxins in common edible weeds.
  4. They could be worth money. The wild edibles market is no joke, and if you’ve got fresh organic purslane, watercress, or morels, you could actually get a fair bit of cash for it. Here’s an article with some fun examples.

The common weed Hypericum perforatum, aka St. John’s Wort, is one of the most powerful medicinals on the planet. 

6 reasons to Eat the Weeds

  1. Edible yard weeds are an easy and free way to add nutritional value to your meals.
  2. Yard weeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
  3. Eating yard weeds can help reduce your carbon footprint.
  4. These weeds are often high in protein, and can be a healthy alternative to processed foods.
  5. Yard weeds are a great way to add flavor and texture to dishes.
  6. You can save money by incorporating yard weeds into your diet.

This video explores some of my favorite edible weeds, most of which can be found even in the city!

Urban Herbs to Forage in the City! Eat the Weeds!

Edible Weeds: The Mighty Dandelion

It’s probably indicative of the illness of our culture that dandelions have such a bad rap, because they are truly one of the most useful, nutritious, delicious, and soil-building plants in the garden! Here are some awesome resources for how and why to use them:​

dandelion wallpaper
burdock plant growing
Burdock is a nutritious and easy to grow veggie that most Western gardeners think is just a weed.

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Relevant Links and Resources​ on Edible Weeds

This topic is HUGE and this article is really just a teaser, to get you inspired and send you on your lifelong journey of weed-eating. Here are some directions you could go:

The Trillium Wild Edible Weeds project is excellent.

If this topic interests you, you’re for sure going to want to watch every single video on this channel. Start with this video!

How To Identify Wild Plants - A Guide To Botanical Terms

Mushrooms! If you’re interested in mushrooms, Paul Stamets is the place to start. Here’s an excellent interview about his work, biodiversity, and fungi.

BioDiversity is BioSecurity - Sept 5 2014

The Eat the Weeds YouTube channel is loads of fun! Here’s a video about the commonly misidentified “Deadly” Nightshade.

Eat The Weeds: Episode 120: The American Nightshade Part I

Fruit of the Oak Tree:

How to gather and process acorns.

From Tree to Table: gathering and processing acorns

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