Eat your Weeds

see copyright notice. Page created 19-May-2003 updated 4-Feb-2020. Use the button groups above to navigate quickly around the site.

[Egg and weeds in open sandwich]

Late spring and early summer are the best times to harvest edible weeds for this light lunch. Wash and dry them, then arrange on slices of wholemeal bread and butter, with a sliced hard-boiled egg or two, and a pinch of salt. Please note, the flowers apparently growing from the sarnies in the photo belong to the pattern on the plate!

These are a few of my favourite weeds:

[Garlic Mustard, Bittercress, Ramsons]

Garlic Mustard (aka Jack-by-the-hedge) has a hot and slightly sweet taste, reminiscent of both garlic and mustard as the name suggests. Bittercress tastes a bit like rocket. If you let it go to seed it'll spring up everywhere - great! Ramsons (aka Wild Garlic) is not exactly a weed in my garden, as I planted it deliberately - but it grows in the wild, and if you like garlic you'll love its leaves.

Obligatory warning: Don't rely on these pictures to identify a plant. Refer to a good field guide, and even if you're sure it's a safe species to eat, try only a small piece at first.

[Sorrel, Dandelion, Lemon Balm]

Sorrel has a lovely sharp taste, owing to its oxalic acid content (so it should be used sparingly). Dandelion can be rather bitter, but I've heard you can improve it by blanching the growing leaves under an upturned flowerpot. Lemon Balm is better used to make a refreshing herbal tea.

top ▲