Foraged Flavor from Your Backyard: Why You Can and Should Cook with Weeds

The New York Times

Chickweed, dead nettles, dock. You may think these are just pesky weeds overtaking your garden, but they're actually vitamin- and- mineral-packed greens that can add a powerful punch to your dinner. Do you know how to forage for weeds?

Tama Matsuoka Wong, the author of the forthcoming book Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer's Market tells The New York Times that gardeners shouldn't be so quick to hate those weeds crowding out their other plants. As she says, "if you can see a weed as food, everything changes."

Don't look for survival food recipes in Wong's book; rather, the book "matches the distinctive, variously nutty, tart, sour, hot, minty tastes of these wild herbs -- for a weed, after all, is just a plant we don't like -- with their soul mates (ginger or mustard or pine nuts)." Here are a few tips:

Dock is packed with vitamins and minerals. Take only the youngest leaves in the center of the plant. When cooked, it tastes like kale.
• The tender tops of chickweed pair great with Gorgonzola.
Dead nettle (Lamium amplexicaule) works particularly well inside wild herb ravioli.
Bee balm (Monarda didyma, which has a red flower) has a lemony taste that pairs well with crab meat and jalapeño peppers in spring rolls.
• Oxalis, or wild sorrel, has an acidity that brightens seafood.

Read More: Finding Flavor in the Weeds at The New York Times

Related: Edible Weeds: Ground Ivy

(Image: Sever180/Shutterstock)

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