Here is a list of things you probably had no idea were edible and which happen to be good for you. The good thing is you can find most of these in your backyard.
Growing up, this plant was my worst nightmare. I remember the bullies in school would always try to sting us with a branch of nettle. But this biting plant that grows in your backyard is not that evil but actually good for you. Nettle is considered a super-food because of its nutritional value. It is low in calories, high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, sulfur, Vitamin A, C, and B complex Vitamins.
In Eastern Europe people use nettle to cook soups and even filling for pies and “peroshki”. You could make a nettle salad, simply steam it and eat as a vegetable, or brew it as a tea. During WWII nettle was the main food for many people in Eastern Europe and saved many lives.
Throughout history it is also used in folk remedies to treat various disease like gout, prostate cancer, hepatitis and gall bladder inflammation, and worms.
Nettle is also good to eat if you are trying to lose weight because it provides a dense amount of nutrients for a small amount of calories. It also suppresses appetite, purifies the blood, and flushes the of extra water weight and toxins.
These weeds are known as perfect lawn’s worst enemy. But instead of fighting them people should eat them. This plant was brought to America from Europe by the colonist who used it as food and topic for various ailments.
Dandelions are a good source of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and C. Every part of this plant is edible, the flower, leaves, and the root.
Dandelions shouldn’t be picked in your yard if you have treated the lawn with any type of chemicals. Also, dandelions that have been cut many types with the lawnmower will likely be bitter. The best place to pick them is in a place where the glass grows free. The best time to pick them is when they are young and did not fully bloom yet.
The leaves of the dandelion could be added in a salad or steams for a side of vegetables. The flower could be used to make a homemade wine and jam. The root could be grind into a coffee-like drink.
The dandelion is a choleretic and could be used to aid digestion, liver disease, stomach ulcers, flatulence, dyspepsia, stomach cramps, and hypofunction of the stomach. Could also be used as a laxative for dogs and cats.
Dandelions are used as to get rid of intestinal worms. The extract from leaves and flowers help with rheumatism, arthritis, cracked nipples in nursing mothers, as well as atherosclerosis, hypertension, varicose veins. Dandelion strengthens the heart. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, as well as epilepsy. Dandelions normalize the metabolism, help with gout, diabetes, Graves’ disease. It is also a diaphoretic and a febrifuge.
Dandelion juice is used for eczema, warts, chloasma, scleroderma. The leaves have a healing effect from sun damage, snake and insect bites, bruises, wounds, and swelling.
There is evidence that dandelions contribute to the treatment of disease of the circulatory system, anemia, strengthens the blood forming organs, reducing cholesterol.
The use of the dandelion has a positive effect on hypovitaminosis, obesity, it stimulates appetite, and helps with a toothache and headache..
Not too shabby for a common garden weed.
This plant is often found on the side of roads and trails. In Russian it is called “podorozhnik” which mean “along-the-road”.
The part of this plant that is edible are the leaves. Pick them, and sauté like you would any other green leafy vegetable. It could also be added into a salad, added into a soup. The leaves could also be juiced or made into a syrup.
Plantago is high in Vitamin C, A, and K and potassium. Plantago is also rich in enzymes, volatile production, polysaccharides, glucose and fructose.
Plantago leaves are also considered antiseptic and stops bleeding. Holding the leave to a wound, burn or a bite will clean it up and help it heal. It also improves digestion and is a good expectorant.
In the last hundred years people in Eastern Europe stopped considering Rumex as a weed and actually began growing it in their gardens. It has a sour, delicious taste. Most often dock is cooked into a “green borscht” as Russians call it. However, it is also good when eaten raw.
Fresh dock leaves have a large amount of carotene, vitamins B, K, ascorbic acid, oxalic acid, tannin, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.