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Edible Weeds

is there anyone out there who forages edible weeds out their yard or ANYWHERE for that matter. ive recently been looking into edible wild plants, becasue well, theyre free for one, and organic. basically, im not real sure where to start and im not sure which plants are edible and which ones arent safe. can someone help?


  • suzyqsuzyq Raw Newbie

    I don’t have any answers for you, but I’d like to add on my own question! For us urban dwellers, are there any safe places to forage? I just assume that most vegetation in open urban spaces is totally contaminated, intentionally or incidentally… People spread all sorts of chemicals on their lawns, and likewise for public parks, not to mention worrying about general environmental pollution or the history of a plot of land (what might be buried there, what might drain to that area, etc.). And it’s not even just urban areas, I guess—I’ve heard heavy agricultural regions of the U.S. have some of the highest levels of chemicals from everything involved in industrial-scale farming…

    I don’t mean to be a downer! I hope someone can tell me that I’m just being paranoid and things haven’t really gotten this bad!

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie
  • Hi! I pick and eat weeds all the time. Good point, though, that you really need to be careful where you pick. I have 2 acres on an island that I know is pristine—away from traffic fumes and chemical sprays.

    The best way to learn is to find someone in your area that knows the plants and is willing to walk with you and point them out. I have used the book “Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild) Places” by “Wildman” Steve Brill. It may be available in your library. There are wonderful illustrations, descriptions and even recipes.

    My yard has wild chickweed, miner’s lettuce, bittercress, dandelion, and sorrel right now—they all go in the salad bowl. And there is lots of stinging nettles now that I dry for tea. Good luck!

  • nope..it really has gotten that bad..which is why you should know what is or isnt edible.. www.learningherbs.com has some foraging cards and a link to an awesome book Pine needle tea and crabgrass muffins.. also another good book is the wild vegetarian..wild man steve brill…. not raw recipes but still good info and inspiring to alter the recipes.. there is a ton of info online… and most weeds are edible and not posionus…so its really not that scary.. double check your resources and really be sure before eating anything… the grocery sells a nice organic greens mix that has some “weeds” in it for compare and contrast study.. Good luck..

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    My bf is big into foraging. We are finding LOTS of wild fennel, mustard and other greens and herbs on a trail near our house. We are in Silicon Valley. There is another thread on this on here. There is a rule about where to forage – it is something like 500 feet away from anything “urban” like railroad tracks, highways….

    Yes, be very careful – some stuff if very easy to identify and others have poisonous equivalents that are very similar and difficult to tell the difference between. We a friend die because she picked something that one of the close clones. – she was a great forgager too. We were really shocked that happened to her. When in doubt don’t pick. Best to go with someone who knows what they are doing. Some parks offer free classes with a guide. I would check around in your neighborhood.

    There is a Foraging group on yahoo group called Forage Ahead. People can help you identify things on there if you post pictures.

  • Raw_ChocoholicRaw_Chocoholic Raw Newbie

    I’d recommend both taking a class/course (if you have any in the area) and raiding the library for local guides. Maybe just try to learn one new thing a day and become really adept at identifying it, rather than trying to pick everything at once. Also, if you’re worried you can stay away from picking anything that does have a poisonous double.

    The rule of thumb is: don’t pick from anywhere which has had pesticides sprayed during the past two years, near a roadside, and stay far far away from golf courses! Basically, stick to wild areas. About poisonous things, Sergei Boutenko was saying that there are only about 50 plants that are deathly poisonous, so it’s best to learn those first and then you can feel safer about the rest. I don’t know if he was talking just about North America or what. Sad to hear about your friend Queenfluff, that’s pretty scary.

  • this reminds me of this podcast where this guy http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/ was interviewed about the time he was arrested for doing foraging tours in central park.. he was explaining how the best time to eat dandelion was at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season because it is less bitter then.. he reached down to pick one and as he puts it in his mouth the central park cops come out from behind trees and trash cans and arrested him.. patting him down (incase he had some wild onions in his pocket i guess) and took him off to jail.. i guess before the whole thing was done with, the judge decided to drop the case and support his endeavor by helping him out with the business..

  • i found that the best place to ask was my local nursery. call around to a few, find out if any of the owners and/or employees is a forager or can direct you to one. i live in a rural area and wild greens are readily available, but when i lived in the city i grew dandelions in pots, thats the nice thing about weeds, they grow anywhere…

  • great topic! i know a few plants but i would really like to know more… i especially would like a book or class about plants in san francisco/bay area. i know there are several SF people who dwell on these forums… anybody here take nettles from golden gate park? i have before, and i steamed them (i wasn’t raw back then) but not lately.

  • amysueamysue Raw Newbie

    This is very timely because I picked and ate my first weeds of the year today! I just bought the Peterson Field Guide – Edible Wild Plants (Eastern/Central North America) and I discovered I had some Sheep Sorrel coming up so my daughter and I had some – very tangy. This happens to be my most hated weed, so to find out that it’s edible was very exciting. I’ll be picking dandelions and whatever else I can identify that comes up between my herbs and flowers.

  • I have the Edible Wild Plants book, by Peterson, also! It is a great book, but I would like to find one that identifies more edible weeds for my area (Indiana). I am just real curious about wild food at this time in my raw journey! Today I started talking to my children about certain weeds as I harvested some for smoothies and salad. They knew a lot of the names from books they had read. The books were the Red wall series, and some series with cats. Anyway, we had a very interesting foraging party in our yard! We harvested dandelion, winter cress, cleavers, plantain, clover, curled dock, evening primrose, sorrel, penny cress, shepherd’s purse, black medick, and black mustard! I also located some stinging nettle, burdock and wild carrot, which my mom always called queen ann’s lace!

    I would like to know more about the nutritional value of these foods. It’s kind of funny, but I used to pay big bucks for herbs in capsules, and many of them are growing, and can be grown in my own back yard!!!!

  • modified phill – thanks for that great limeaid recipe. I add ice for half the water and my boys and I love it!

    I am wondering if anyone else is haveing much sucess with foraging? I am wanting to learn more. I am seeing recipes for cooked wild food, and info concerning changing the cooking water twice to get rid of bad taste or even toxins. However, raw wild edibles seem to be a bit more mystifying. I am just wanting some feed back from anyone who has knowlege in this area.

    queenfluff- I am sorry to hear about the loss of a forager. Was it hemlock that she ate?

  • amysueamysue Raw Newbie

    Hey gorawmom – I’ve eaten sheep’s sorrel, dandelion, violets, plantain and daylily leaves. One of them made me nauseous in a green smoothie, though. I did read somewhere that sheep’s sorrel should be eaten sparingly because of high oxalic acid content. The only one I have no worries eating is the dandelion because I know I can’t go wrong, other than it’s a diuretic.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Master

    Plantain? The only plantain I know about looks like a banana, only bigger & it’s more starchy. Am I missing something?

  • kevin7197kevin7197 Raw Newbie

    Gorawmom- Indiana? May I inquire what part of the state? It’s nice to see fellow hoosiers here! Going raw is pretty tough in this part of the country, lol.

  • SuzicalSuzical Raw Newbie

    Modified Phill – I am in SoFlorida and am in the process of relandscaping my back yard. I decided to up my raw/green blending game and have some spots just for wild edibles. I ordered a bunch of seeds from the following websites (good explanations and pictures):

    www.wildgardenseed.com www.sandmountainherbs.com www.horizonherbs.com

    That way, I can rotate my greens and learn about wild edibles in the process. I am going to do a few plantings in large tubs as well (moveable for hurricanes, if necessary)

    Hope that helps and good luck!

  • Kevin7197-Glad to know you are a hoosier, too! They’re going to think we’re ALL kinda crazy up here in hoosier land! Hee Hee! We are in the north east, and you? Your right about it being tough up here! When my son went raw, his freinds poked fun at him, and told him that he was going to become a weakling! There are very few here that even know anything about the raw way of eating!

    angie-the plantain plant is a low growing, broad leaf plant that is pretty common in yards usually growing right along with dandelions.

    amysue- I read that, too, about sheeps sorrel. But I have loved nibbling on it every since I was a kid. It is sooo yummy! And a little bit of it won’t hurt you! I did not know about eating day lilly leaves. Most daylilly’s have edible flowers, though, but some don’t.

  • We like young hawthorn leaves in salads, wild garlic (ramsons), borage, elderberries and flowers (sambucus nigra not the red berries), sorrels and good king henry (if you can find it wild). I recently discovered lamb’s quarters which grow all over our garden (previously weeded out!). I don’t relish the idea of eating dandelions yet, but am going to try to add a leaf or two to my green smoothies.

  • kevin7197kevin7197 Raw Newbie

    Gonerawmom- I’m in Indianapolis, a transplant from west central Indiana!

  • Kevin- The big city of Indy. Well, I am a transplant from Ill., so…not a true Hoosier, but I claim it now, any way…may as well! LOL!

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