Cooking with Weeds - food inspiration from edible weeds

Weeds and Seaweeds as Food

edible seaweeds available in the British Islaes THONGWEED - Himanthalia elongata
Thongweed is one of many edible wild seaweeds that can make an excellent foodstuff. Indeed, you will find that many of the prepared food products that you buy over the counter in a supermarket have seaweed among the ingredients (carragheenans, for example, which help 'gel' foods).

In its youngest state thongweed has a lovely crispy, crunchy, texture that goes well in salads, but it may also be steamed and boiled. Old specimens are pretty dreadful.

shepherd's purse - an edible garden weed SHEPHERD'S PURSE - Capsella bursa-pastoris
One of the gardener's most troublesome weeds this annual species provides some excellent vegetable greens when very young - with an almost cabbage-like texture rather than lettuce-like.

In their young state the leaves look a little like small dandelion leaves.

wild garlic - one of the best wild foods in springtime RAMSONS - Allium ursinum
Ramsons is the big daddy of the wild garlics, and was grown as a kitchen ingredient in the past.

Although somewhat more pungent than garlic bought over the counter, there are ways of tackling that, making ramsons one of the most treasured springtime ingredients for experienced wild foodies.

nettles - a spinach substitute from the wild STINGING NETTLE - Urtica dioica
Don't get mad with nettles, get even... Eat them! They make an excellent vegetable green when young, and can be used cooked or in a raw state when puréed (see the nettle pesto on the Recipes page). They are full of vitamins and other healthy constituents, and have traditionally been used as a foodstuff in the past.

Of course you can also make nettle beer and nettle wine from the leaves), and there is one cheese sold commercially which is wrapped in nettle leaves.

Forage thoughtfully and sustainably... Manage wild food resources with care, taking consideration of whether the species are annual, biennial or perennial plants.