For many years, a lot of people have been removing plants that are considered to be “weeds” from their yards and gardens. What they don’t know is that long ago, many of them were used in cooking because they contain essential nutrients.
Even though they’re not popular as traditional herbs, they are edible and have exotic flavors that are nice in many dishes. That’s why you should let them grow instead of pulling them out. Likewise, you can use them to create new delicious recipes.
Want to try them? Take a look at the following 8 edible plants:
1-Wild chard (Beta vulgaris)
Wild chard can grow in semi fertile and fertile areas. It’s common to find them in uncultivated yards of industrial area or along roadsides.
This plant is high in vitamins and minerals, and is better than the cultivated variety of chard.
In addition, it won’t have any chemical residues.
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2-Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettle is a natural medicinal plant that helps treat certain symptoms. However, contact with the leaves can cause a stinging sensation, which is quite odd for a plant that can be included in several dishes.
Once it’s cook in temperatures over 60 ºC, the sinning properties disappears and you can include them in dishes.
Boiled nettle can be added to soups, enchiladas, or potato dishes.
3-Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Juniper is an identifiable prickly bush due to its lilac fruits that grow on pine trees. It is still used for making gin. However, few people use juniper. This fruit can still be used as a condiment for stews, meats, and sauces.
Collect some juniper berries and add them to these types of recipes – they provide a very appealing woodsy aroma.
4-Sweet lettuce (Reichardia picroides)
Sweet lettuce is a perennial plant that grows in loamy terrain. The edible parts are the leaves emerging form base just before it flowers.
These leaves can be used as salad greens.
In fact, you can consume them by themselves because they’re soft and fleshy, with a pleasant flavor.
5-Wild caterpillar (Diplotaxis erucoides)
This wild plant grows among vines and olive trees, and is known for its white flowers. It belongs to the same family as cabbage and broccoli, and the leaves have a similar flavor. Its most interesting culinary use comes from the flower, which has a slight mustard taste.
When crushed and added to a little oil it can be used as a salad dressing.
6-Colleja (Silene vulgaris)
This is a “weed” that hasn’t totally been forgotten. It’s still used in various recipes in the Spanish cuisine. It grows around cultivated areas and it’s difficult to eliminate. However, it’s mostly been eradicated due to the use of herbicides.
Its small leaves can be used in the kitchen and its flavor is somewhat similar to spinach, even though they have nothing in common.
It is often used in tortillas and can also be added to salads or even boiled, just like any other leafy vegetable.
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7-Sweet chicory (Chondrilla juncea)
This plant typically grows in rainy areas or in orchards that are not irrigated often. When the plant is small it’s similar to the popular dandelion.
Once grown, yellow flowers will blossom.
The leaves are edible, they taste good in salads.
8-Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Wild fennel grows along roadsides, but there is also a cultivated variety.
It’s a fibrous plant that must be cut into small pieces before you eat it. It can be mixed with green sprouts, pasta, legumes, and more.
The anise flavor adds a fresh taste to salads.
It can also be added to juices to improve digestion.
The seeds are perfect for flavoring certain dishes.
Important: Before eating any of these herbs, you must be sure they’re the right ones and know how to prepare them.
If they’ve been growing in an area exposed to chemicals, it’s better not to eat them.
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