With a growing interest in living off the grid, what better way to get your dinner than finding it in the environment? While foraging has recently been somewhat romanticized, most people are unaware of the potential gourmet quality, and even less aware of the nutritional benefits, of wild edibles, or weeds (the less romantic term).
Due to lack of experience or difficulties in identifying the right plants, most of us would rather just go to the farm stand or grocery store and pick the ubiquitous broccoli. But what could be more available than garnet stem chicory (aka dandelion)? There's amazing opportunity here — for our planet and our health.
Adding wild greens such as lamb's quarters (wild spinach), purslane, dandelion, wild amaranth, and mustard to your store-bought Romaine or kale can add nutrient density and variety in nutrient profile.
Diversity and quantity of greens are something sorely lacking in the American diet. Domesticated produce offers easy accessibility and convenience; however, much of it has been genetically altered for flavor and transportability rather than nutrition.
The soil that conventional produce is grown in is often depleted from poor farming practices while wild greens benefit from untouched mineral-rich soil.
Some nutrients found in abundance in wild edibles include fiber, omega-3s, beta carotene, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium; vitamins A, C, E; and many phytochemicals including carotenoids, phenols, flavonoids, glucosinolates, and indoles.