Edible Weed Seeds

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Well, no. Eating cannabis seeds does not get you high. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them! Here's why. If you've ever wondered about the health benefits of eating marijuana seeds (are there any?), then this comprehensive post may surprise you. Take advantage of weeds in your garden by harvesting them for nutritious treats. Try these purslane recipes, and learn about more edible garden weeds.

Can Eating Cannabis Seeds Get You High?

Okay, that’s dealt with. But don’t click away just yet!

If you’ve ever wondered so as to whether marijuana seeds are even edible, to begin with – yes, they are – and you don’t have to worry about going on a trip. In fact, Canada has already legalised shelled hemp seeds which can be added to food. They taste somewhat oily, and many have described them as tasting like sunflower seeds.

So, we’ve established one thing early on: there’s no high to be found by eating marijuana seeds because that’s what they are: plain ol’ seeds. As you may or may not know, cannabis seeds do not contain any chemical compounds that get you high, so we can put that one to rest.

However, it pays to know why so many love consuming raw cannabis seeds – there are actually a plethora of health benefits to be had.

Why Would Anyone Eat Marijuana Seeds if They Don’t Get You High?

Besides being an excellent protein source, cannabis seeds can help you manage weight problems and round off your diet with essential nutrients, including certain vitamins and omega-fatty acids.

Not known by many cannabis lovers is the fact that the seed contains up to 20 different types of amino acids (building blocks of protein), 9 of which are essential ones.

Marijuana seeds can also help excrete toxins out of the body faster while also improving the immune system. As far as we know, there have been no side effects of consuming raw cannabis seeds, and to quickly reiterate: there’s no high to be found, sorry!

So whether you’re planning to eat marijuana seeds or hemp seeds, go right ahead and indulge – enjoy the health benefits and the creamy, oily taste – but they will not get you high. There are no two ways about it.

The only way for you to enjoy a high is if you sow the seed and let the plant mature. Then how you consume is up to you.

A Quick Primer on Marijuana Seeds

To be perfectly clear, the term “marijuana seeds” is a collective reference to cannabis seeds in general. For example, when it comes to nutritional benefits, there is no significant difference between a hemp seed and a cannabis seed, which has the potential to produce a high-THC and potent strain through its flower, stalk, stem and leaves.

This is where the big distinction lies when it comes to the medicinal prowess of cannabis or hemp plant seeds versus the actual plant material. Most of the cannabis’s therapeutic benefits come from active chemical compounds like THC and CBD, as well as certain flavonoids and terpenes. Since cannabis seeds do not contain any of this “good stuff”, they are useless for therapeutic or recreational (euphoric high) purposes.

But there is a silver lining and a big, glaring one at that: consuming marijuana seeds offers a host of health and nutritional benefits, namely their protein and omega fatty acid content. In fact, this nutrition is second to none regarding plant-derived foods.

So, if you can’t get high from seeds alone and there are no therapeutic benefits, then what are we left with? This shouldn’t stop you from making those seeds a part of your daily nutritional regimen. Let’s expand on that:

No High – But a World of Health Benefits

An abundant source of easily digestible, natural protein

Ask any well-established nutritionist, and chances are you will hear that proteins derived from plants are much healthier and easier to digest than the regular animal-based variety.

Data revealed in a recent study where health records of over 130,000 people over 30 years were examined; it was discovered that participants who did not consume any animal protein had noticeably lower death rates than regular meat-eating participants; that where there was an increase in every 3% caloric intake from plant protein, death risk was effectively cut down by 10%.

And there’s no question about it that cannabis seeds are the best natural source of plant-based protein that you might come across today. This is why since the 17 th century, farmers have been using marijuana seed mash to provide nutrition for their livestock – that is, before it became illegal.

This also explains why hemp seed protein powder is so popular now in bodybuilding circles. Former Women’s UFC champion, Ronda Rousey, used to start off her mornings with some hemp hearts before hitting the gym for intense training bouts.

Heart Health Booster

A good reason why you should seriously consider consuming marijuana seeds is that they are really good for your heart. After all, diets rich in omega fatty acids can reduce blood pressure, improve cardiovascular function and also lower the risk of stroke by cutting down the likelihood of clot formation.

Moreover, cannabis seeds have a lot of arginine – an amino acid responsible for boosting the blood’s nitric oxide. This helps the blood vessels relax and dilate, reducing heart attack risk, lowering blood pressure, and improving overall cardiovascular function. Hemp seeds, in fact, have been recommended by many nutritionists to help patients recover faster following a heart attack.

Rich in Omega Fatty Acids

Even though omega fatty acids are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to total body wellness and vital organ health, as human beings, we cannot produce omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids on our own. This is why we need them from a food source. As you may already know, omega fatty acids can improve heart health and blood flow and, boost cognitive function, eyesight, joint health, and reduce inflammation.

Many health experts claim that hemp seeds contain the most omega fatty acid content among all plant seeds, even more so than flaxseed, walnuts and Chia seeds.

Whole Body Wellness and Disease Prevention

When you take just some of the benefits into consideration, it’s easy to understand why consuming cannabis seeds regularly can be an excellent way to prevent certain diseases and promote whole body wellness as well as general health.

And just to reiterate, marijuana seeds happen to be one of the only few plant-based foods that contain a rich amino acid profile – that’s every single amino acid required for survival. Perhaps this is why many leading growers and cultivators have described the cannabis/hemp seed as the most nutritionally well-rounded food source ever.

Good for Losing or Gaining Weight

A diet rich in cannabis seeds has been known to help lose or gain weight. Does this sound confusing or counter-intuitive?

Obese people can benefit from consuming seeds because they contain lots of vitamins, including Vitamin E, and essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium – nutrients that can help overweight people stay fuller and feel more satiated around the clock.

On the other hand, the very same nutritional attributes found in cannabis seeds can help you gain weight (the good kind) if consumed healthily.

How do I eat Cannabis Seeds?

All aboard the cannabis health train! Now the next step – what’s the best way to eat them?

Well, marijuana/hemp seeds can be consumed straight off the buds (raw) or cooked, shelled, unshelled, etc., pretty much however you want. Some folks even like roasting and adding them to their favourite dessert. You don’t need to cook or ‘process’ them in any way to reap all those wonderful nutritional and health benefits.

But – they can be a lot more enjoyable and satisfying to eat when you get creative and have them in a meal, as opposed to just having them straight up, plain and raw.

A very popular way of consuming hemp seeds, for instance, is first to roast them and then mix them with a crunchy snack like kale chips. Some folks even roast their cannabis seeds and throw them in boiling water along with their favourite spices – a great way to increase the nutritional bang of your choice of tea by including cannabis stems and dried leaves.

Shelled cannabis seeds can be sprinkled on all kinds of foods like hummus, salads, yoghurt, quinoa, smoothies, etc. you can even press raw seeds for oil, grind them up into a nice flour or make a protein supplement out of them by mixing in your favourite peanut butter snack or protein shake.

See also  Cannabis Seed Giveaway

Let’s just leave all the “high” stuff to the actual plant, is what we say. With such a unique range of health benefits, you’d want to think long and hard before tossing out those delightful seeds.

References

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

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Why Eat Marijuana Seeds: 5 Key Health Benefits to Know About

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth of industrial hemp in the United States. However, it depends on individual states submitting details of a hemp program to the government. Nonetheless, the law ended the 81-year prohibition of hemp.

What’s absurd is that early colonists in America were legally required to grow the crop! In 1619, Jamestown colony law decreed that all settlers had to cultivate Indian hemp. This legislation remained in place for centuries. Between 1763 and 1769, refusing to grow hemp in Virginia meant you could go to jail! It was only in the 20 th century that the crop became outlawed. Even then, the nation grew it during World War II.

Were they doing this to get high? No. (Maybe some of them were.)

Instead, they were cultivating hemp for the boundless nutritional components of the seed. They also knew about its use for the construction/textile components of the stalk and stem. During that era, people used hemp fibers to make rope, paper, clothes, etc.

Here is a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”

Unlike hemp, cannabis remains federally illegal. Even so, many Americans are finding a way to incorporate marijuana seeds into their diet. They are doing so for the same reasons those colonists did in the 17th century.

In this article, we go over five key health benefits of marijuana seeds. We also outline why you should establish them as a staple part of your daily nutritional intake.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

First Things First: A Brief Background on Marijuana Seeds and Their Uses

When we say “marijuana seeds,” we mean cannabis seeds in general. In terms of essential nutritional benefits, there is no discernible difference between a hemp seed and a cannabis seed. The seeds of marijuana do not contain cannabinoids; you find those in the flower, stems, stalks, and leaves.

There is a big difference in potential medicinal properties between the seeds of the cannabis/hemp plant, and the plant material.

Most of marijuana’s medicinal properties come from the presence of active cannabinoids and certain terpenes, flavonoids, etc. Since marijuana seeds don’t have cannabinoids, we don’t use them for medicinal/therapeutic purposes.

However, what they lack in “therapeutic cannabinoids,” they more than make up for in general health and nutritional benefits. Their omega acid and protein content, for example, is nearly second to none in terms of plant-derived foods.

You will find hemp seed products in grocery stores and health food outlets. However, marijuana seeds remain classified as a cannabis product. Therefore, their legality depends on where you live. We urge you not to buy them if you don’t live in a legal state. You are better off sticking with hemp seeds in that instance.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the top five reasons why you should eat marijuana seeds.

Can You Eat Marijuana Seeds? Yes, You Can… Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why You SHOULD!

1) High in Natural, Easy-to-Digest Protein

Most nutritional experts claim that plant-based proteins are healthier and easier for the body to digest than animal-based proteins. A study by Budhathoki et al., published in JAMA in August 2019, compared animal and plant protein consumption.

The researchers looked at the health records of more than 130,000 people over thirty years. They found that individuals who did not consume animal protein had “substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters.” Also, for every 3% increase in plant protein-calorie intake, the risk of death was reduced by 10%.

Marijuana seeds are one of the best sources of natural, plant-based protein that you can find. This is why farmers all over the world used cannabis seed “mash” to nourish their livestock before it became illegal. It’s also why bodybuilding hemp seed protein powder is becoming more popular.

It is (probably) why world-class fighters like Ronda Rousey start their morning off with a dose of hemp hearts before hitting the gym.

2) Can Help You Lose (or Gain) Weight!

Cannabis seed-based diets could help people gain or lose weight. Marijuana seeds are full of vitamins (particularly Vitamin E) and minerals (including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc). They also contain protein and can keep you fuller for longer.

On the flip side, they’re also good for helping to gain weight healthily due to these same nutritional characteristics. Whether you want a filling snack or a superb supplement to add or maintain lean muscle mass, cannabis seeds are worth a try. They have a pleasant ‘nutty’ flavor that can add zest to healthy snacks like salads and plain yogurt.

Can cannabis help to trim the …

3) Crucial Omega Fatty Acid Content

Human beings do not naturally produce Omega fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6. Therefore, we have to consume them from outside sources. However, some say hemp seeds have the most abundant source of natural Omega acids in the entire plant kingdom. This means they have more than Chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed.

Omega-3 fatty acids help promote a healthy brain and heart. The omegas are also amino acids that are essential for protein production.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

4) They Are REALLY Good for Your Heart

Marijuana seeds are heart-healthy because diets high in Omega acids reduce blood pressure. You also benefit from a lower risk of stroke-inducing blood clot formation and increased overall cardiovascular function.

The presence of arginine in cannabis seeds causes blood vessels to relax and dilate. As a result, you benefit from reduced blood pressure and lower risk of a heart attack. Indeed, your risk of contracting other forms of cardiovascular disease also drops. Some reports claim that hemp seeds help the heart recover after a heart attack.

Finally, the gamma-linoleic acid that’s abundant in marijuana can reduce the production of specific proteins that result in inflammation. This is particularly the case with inflammation of the heart and surrounding cardiovascular tissue.

5) Disease Prevention and Whole-Body Wellness

Consuming marijuana seeds regularly is potentially a great way to prevent disease and promote general health and whole-body wellness.

Their cardiovascular benefits could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other psychological conditions. In theory, then, cannabis seeds could promote mental health and well-being as much as they do physical.

By the way, marijuana seeds are one of the only plant-based food sources that contain every single amino acid required for human survival! Some nutritional gurus claim these seeds are the most “nutritionally complete food source in the world.”

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How Can You Eat Marijuana Seeds?

It’s not that difficult! You can eat marijuana seeds raw, cooked, shelled, or unshelled. You don’t have to prepare or otherwise process them to reap the health and nutrition benefits.

However, they are a lot more enjoyable when you make a little ‘meal’ out of them, instead of consuming them raw.

One of our favorite ways to eat hemp seeds is to roast them. Then, we combine them with a crunchy, plant-based snack. For example, kale chips make for a fantastic combination.

A lot of people also like to make a non-psychoactive “ganja tea.” You can do this by roasting the hemp seeds first. Then, put them in boiling water along with some of your favorite spices. You can also increase the “nutritional potency” of the tea by including your cannabis stems and dried leaves in the infusion.

You can sprinkle shelled marijuana seeds on top of different kinds of foods to spice them up. Examples include oatmeal, quinoa, yogurt, hummus, salads, and smoothies. You could press the raw seeds for oil, or grind them into a fine powder for flour, protein supplement, or milk. You will need specialized equipment for this technique, however.

Final Thoughts: Health Benefits of Eating Cannabis Seeds

It’s important to distinguish between medicinal cannabis-based products (i.e., CBD oils), and marijuana seeds. The former contains cannabinoids and comes from the leaves, flowers, stems, and stalk of the plant. The latter is consumed purely for their nutritional/health benefits. You will not experience an intoxicating high with cannabis seeds. Please note that these seeds remain illegal in states without a medical or recreational marijuana law.

The next time you decide to toss away “useless” marijuana seeds from the weed you’re about to use, stop!

Put them aside and make a smoothie out of them. Alternatively, grind them and sprinkle over a salad. You could even pop them into your mouth like you’re eating some sunflower seeds. If you make a habit out of this, your body will thank you in the long run!

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

16 Edible Weeds: Dandelions, Purslane, and More

Weeds are widely believed to be a gardener’s arch-enemy. They stifle crops, steal water, hog sunlight, and create what some deem an eyesore in otherwise impeccably groomed flowerbeds and lawns. They’re not all bad, though: Edible weeds, it turns out, are exceedingly useful.

Instead of burning your abundance of dandelions, chickweed, or wild amaranth—or worse, spraying them with toxic weedkiller—take the zero-waste approach and repurpose them into dandelion tea, amaranth seed polenta, or chickweed pesto.

Here are 16 edible weeds and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Warning

Do not eat any plant unless you have identified it with certainty. Steer clear of plants that grow near roads and railroad tracks and of those that could have been sprayed with garden chemicals.

Understanding Weeds

Though they can ruthlessly invade flower beds and vegetable gardens, weeds are wonderful in other ways. They can be remarkably attractive—particularly the chipper yellow pom-pom blooms of the dandelion and the dainty, daisylike flowers of chickweed—and you have to commend them for their tenacity, as they seem to thrive even in the least hospitable places.

What Are Weeds?

A weed is any wild plant that’s undesirable in its setting—usually a human-controlled setting—whether that be a garden, lawn, farm, or park.

The term “weed” is in itself so relative that its definition is ever-changing. Historically, weeds have been associated with invasive plants, but research within the past couple decades has revealed that many species regarded as weeds today evolved from domestic (i.e., native) ancestors. Their defining quality is, therefore, undesirability: They’re either unpleasant to look at or pose some sort of biological threat.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The quintessential weed, dandelions are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain vitamin E, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. Every part of this flowering herb, from the roots to the bright-yellow blossoms, can be eaten raw or cooked.

Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the youngest leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves make delightful salad additions. If raw dandelion leaves don’t appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The sweet and crunchy flowers can be eaten raw or breaded and fried. Use them to make dandelion wine or syrup. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane is a heat-loving succulent that has fleshy, jadelike leaves and grows in small clusters low to the ground. It thrives in harsh environments, like in sidewalk cracks and in gravel driveways. The humble garden weed is a nutritional powerhouse, outrageously rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Purslane has a sour, salt-and-peppery taste similar to spinach, and it can be used in much the same way as the more mainstream leafy green. Add it to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry, or use it as a thickener for soups and stews. It has a crispy texture, and the leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooking purslane, be sure to sauté it gently and not for long, as overcooking it can create an unappetizing slimy texture.

Clover (Trifolium)

Clover’s spherical flowers and supposedly lucky leaves are a common food source for honeybees and bumblebees, but they make great additions to human meals, too. There are several types of clover, the most common being red clover (which grows tall) and white clover (which spreads outward). Both are rich in protein, minerals, and carbohydrates.

Small amounts of raw clover leaves can be chopped into salads or sautéed and added to dishes for a green accent. The flowers of both red and white clover can be eaten raw or cooked, or dried for clover tea.

Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album)

Lamb’s quarters, also known as goosefoot, is loaded with fiber, protein, and vitamins A and C. The plant can grow up to 10 feet—although it normally doesn’t—and produces oval or triangular leaves with serrated edges. One of its most identifiable features is the pop of blue-green at the top of the plant.

Though it has a cabbagelike taste, this weed is commonly used as a replacement for spinach. Its young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw in any vegetable dish, or it can be sautéed or steamed and used anywhere spinach would be used. Its seeds, which resemble quinoa, can be harvested and eaten, although it takes a lot of patience to gather enough to make it worthwhile as a main dish.

Plantain (Plantago)

Not to be confused with the tropical fruit of the same name, this common weed is made up of a nutritious mix of minerals, fatty acids, vitamin C, carotenes (antioxidants), nitrate, and oxalic acid. Plantain can be identified by its large, oval leaves that surround tall spikes sometimes covered in white flowers.

The young leaves of the plantain can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, or sautéed, and while the older leaves can be a bit tough, they can also be cooked and eaten. The seeds of the plantain, which are produced on the distinctive flower spike, can be cooked like a grain or ground into flour. Check with your doctor before consuming plantain while pregnant.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed is a broadleaf weed belonging to the carnation family. It has small, white flowers, each containing five split petals (appearing as 10 petals), and it grows in clusters on hairy stalks. Chickweed is a resilient plant that may appear on roadsides or riverbanks and can thrive in just about any soil type. It’s rich in vitamins A and C and contains about as much calcium as dandelions.

Chickweed leaves, stems, and flowers can all be eaten either raw—added to sandwiches and salads or ground into a pesto—or cooked. The plant has a grassy, spinachlike taste.

Warning

Chickweed can look very similar to radium weed, a poisonous plant that grows in similar conditions, so consult an experienced forager before picking and consuming chickweed.

Mallow (Malva)

Mallow, or malva, is also known as cheeseweed because its seed pods resemble a wheel of cheese. It shares a family with cotton, okra, and hibiscus, and apart from its distinguishing seed pods—also called “nutlets”—you can identify it by its funnel-shaped flowers, each with five petals and a column of stamens surrounding a pistil. This hardy plant can grow almost anywhere—even in harsh, dry soil conditions.

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Mallow’s leaves, flowers, and seed pods can be eaten raw or cooked. Both the leaves and flowers have a very mild taste that’s often more tender and palatable in juvenile plants. Older leaves and flowers are best steamed, boiled, or sautéed. Mallow is high in vitamins A and C, protein, and carotenoids.

Wild Amaranth (Amaranthus)

Wild amaranth—or “pigweed”—leaves are another great addition to any dish that calls for leafy greens. While the younger leaves are softer and tastier, the older leaves can also be cooked like spinach.

Displaying either green or red leaves and small, green flowers in dense clusters at the top of the plant, wild amaranth has been cultivated since ancient times. The Romans and Aztecs reportedly regarded it as a staple food.

Wild amaranth seeds can also be gathered and cooked just like store-bought amaranth, either as a cooked whole grain or as a ground meal. It does take a bit of time to gather enough seeds to make a meal of them, but it’s worth the work, as they’re packed with 16% protein.

Curly Dock (Rumex crispus)

Curly dock is an oft-overlooked plant that has slender, rigid leaves and tall flower spikes packed with flowers and seeds. The plant contains more vitamin C than oranges, which means it’s also high in oxalic acid. Consuming more than 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day could lead to a buildup of oxalate in your kidneys.

The leaves can be eaten raw when young, or cooked and added to soups when older. In younger plants, foliage is less curly and leaves are round and broad. Mature plants develop stems whereas leaves emerge right from the root when young.

The leaves taste tart and spinachlike. Because of their high oxalic acid content, it’s often recommended to change the water several times during cooking. Newly-emerged stems can be peeled and eaten either cooked or raw, and the mature seeds can be boiled, eaten raw, or roasted to make a coffee substitute.

Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum)

Wild garlic is ubiquitous throughout Europe, but this favorite foraging find is also widespread among the damp woodlands of the eastern U.S. and Canada. It’s so abundant, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers it a “noxious weed,” or one that could be harmful to the environment or animals. It’s not, however, harmful to humans, who typically love stumbling upon a blanket of its signature long, pointed leaves and white flowers sprawled beneath the trees.

Wild garlic tastes like garlic, of course, only grassier. The flavor is milder than the pungent aroma these plants put off (you’ll probably smell them before you see them). Every part of the plant is edible, from the bulbs to the seed heads. You can grind it into a pesto, add it raw to salads and sandwiches for a tangy kick, or sauté it and eat it plain. Wild garlic is higher in magnesium, manganese, and iron than bulb garlic.

Violet (Viola sororia)

Known for their heart-shaped leaves and delightful purple flowers that cover forest floors and stream banks come spring, wild violets are also called “sweet violets” on account of their sugary flavor. They’re often candied and used to decorate baked goods, turned into jam, made into syrups, brewed as a tea, or used as a garnish in salads. Both the leaves and flowers are edible and rich in vitamin C, but the roots and seeds are poisonous.

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

A common winter weed in warm and mild regions of the U.S., hairy bittercress is a low-growing rosette that produces white, four-petaled spring flowers on a tall stem. The plant is part of the mustard family and has a sharp, peppery flavor similar to mustard greens or arugula.

It’s best eaten raw, either as a salad green or mixed into salsas and pestos, because cooking it can remove much of its flavor. Hairy bittercress leaves, seeds, and flowers can all be eaten, but the leaves are said to be the tastiest.

Hairy bittercress, like other plants in the mustard family, is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and beta-carotene.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic mustard is a highly invasive herb that has spread throughout much of North America since being introduced by European settlers in the 1800s. Every part of the plant—leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems—can be eaten, but harvesting them can be tricky.

Garlic mustard should be harvested while young because the shoots harden after a couple of years. They should be avoided in the summer, too, as the heat makes them taste bitter. Any other time, it has a spicy flavor similar to horseradish. It’s great as a chimichurri or a pesto—and it’s abundant in nutritional value. It’s high in fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica)

This highly invasive terrorizer of homes and gardens can be found throughout the Northeast and parts of the Northwest. It has heart-shaped leaves and produces little, white flower tassels in the summertime. It’s often compared to bamboo—partly because of its hollow shoots and partly because it, too, can grow up to 10 feet tall.

Despite its unfavorable reputation, it’s quite nutritious and tasty. The tart, crunchy, and juicy stems are often compared to rhubarb and turned into pie or chutney. Japanese knotweed is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, manganese, zinc, and potassium.

This plant should be harvested while young, when the leaves are slightly rolled up and have red veins as opposed to being flat and green. Knotweed near roads should be avoided as it is often covered in herbicides. It would also be wise to incinerate scraps rather than composting them to prevent them from sprouting.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle, as its name suggests, “stings” by piercing skin with its hollow, needlelike hairs. As it makes contact, those hairs transmit chemicals to skin, causing an uncomfortable sensation and sometimes a rash. In other words, it’s not the first plant you’d think to reach for if you were hungry.

Nonetheless, stinging nettle is not only edible but also nutritious and tasty. It must be cooked or dried first—don’t attempt to eat the “stinging” leaves raw—but when prepared, it’s entirely harmless and tastes like tangy spinach. You can sauté stinging nettles, blend them into a soup, throw them on a pizza, or incorporate them into a dip. Stinging nettles, identifiable by their aggressive-looking hairs, are a great source of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, sodium, and fatty acids. They should be harvested before they flower in late spring.

Sourgrass (Oxalis stricta)

Sourgrass is sometimes called lemon clover because it boasts a refreshing citrusy flavor. It’s commonly found growing in open meadows, lawns, and fields, or occasionally sprouting from sidewalk cracks. The most distinguishing feature of sourgrass is its three-season display of dainty, yellow blooms.

Without its signature sunshiny flowers, it looks a lot like clover. The difference is in the shape of the leaves: clover is oval-shaped and sourgrass is heart-shaped.

Lemon clover tastes sour and tart. It’s primarily eaten raw as an addition to salads, salsas, ceviche, sauces, and seasonings. It also makes a pretty and delicious seafood garnish. Sourgrass is high in vitamin C and oxalic acid, both of which could disrupt digestion if consumed in high doses, so this plant should be eaten only in small amounts.

Many weeds are packed with nutrition—and, besides, eating them keeps them out of your garden and out of the landfill. This is especially beneficial to the environment if they happen to be invasive.

When foraging for edible weeds, pay close attention to leaf shape, leaf arrangements, flowers and seeds, the stalk, and—one of the most important factors—where you find it. Different weeds prefer different growing zones. Also, to double-check your identification, you could use a plant identification app like Seek by iNaturalist.

Studies have shown that urban plants are no less safe to eat than those found outside of cities. That is to say you can probably eat the weeds from your urban garden so long as they aren’t regularly urinated on by the neighborhood dogs.

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