You’ve heard of the bug-eating trend, now get ready to dine on delicious weeds. With food trends coming full circle and foodies going back to their caveman roots, foraging and living off the land are becoming the new cronut.
Instead of spending hours plucking them out of your garden, wild food experts are recommending people add chickweed, cress and dandelion to their dishes. “Don’t kill them. Eat them,” Vickie Shufer, an herbalist and wild food forager, tells Pilot Online. Edible plants are nothing new (that’s what vegetables are), but weed eating is asking people to think outside of what they can pick up from the supermarket shelves and go back to their roots (literally) by eating what they readily find in nature.
Besides being good for you (gotta eat those greens!), a lot of plants you may stroll by everyday have medicinal properties. Cheryl Pasani, a wild forager, says you may be able to find things in your own backyard! For example, she likes the medicinal value of a lichen called “Old Man’s Beard” and pine catkin, which she said helps to balance hormones and build muscle.
“Native Americans used almost every part of cattails for food. Right in your backyard, you can find pretty much what you need both edible and medicinal.” - Cheryl Pasani, Pilot Online
While this could be a passing fad, weed eating does have a lot of benefits. It’s good for you, good for the environment, and actually will make your gardening easier. Aussie consulting gardener Kate Wall tells ABC Rural that her home garden is blossoming, “We don’t have to do anything, it’s free food that has better nutritional quality than a lot of veggies that are struggling to grow beside them. There is not nearly enough awareness and people spend a lot of time and money using very toxic chemicals to try and eradicate them. Instead of trying to eradicate them and poison our world, we should see them as a friend rather than an enemy.”
If you’re ready to get weedy, just remember that not all weeds were created equal. Some are NOT edible so unless you’re sure about what you’re eating, don’t mix it into your omelette. Also, don’t mess with wild mushrooms. A great place to start is finding an online guide for your area (remembering that plant varieties differ depending on which country you’re in) and learning to identify what’s good for you. Chamomile for example is a pretty flower, readily available and great to brew into your bedtime tea with some lavender buds (also from your garden!).
Our guess is it won’t be long until the trend hits restaurants and becomes as common as salted caramel (but maybe not nearly as tasty).