Weeds are every home and business owner’s worst nightmare. Here in the Loganville, Georgia area, weeds start growing early with our warmer temperatures and high humidity. By May, if we haven’t taken precautions, our lawns can be overrun with them. If you’re looking for a way to rid your property of these obnoxious weeds, and still haven’t done so, you might just find some of them can be added for dinner.
Yes, most weeds are edible. In fact, many are quite nutritious and offer a ton of health benefits. In other countries, some weeds are used for medicinal purposes. Here are the most common weeds we find in Loganville, Georgia, and yep, you guessed it, these you can eat.
Common chickweed is a winter annual that grows in moist, shaded areas. It gets its name because it was originally used for chicken feed. Its oval-shaped leaves grow in pairs somewhat apart from each other. Its flowers are white and star-like. While it is a pain when you find it in your backyard, it is considered a super plant by health nutritionists. It contains vitamins C, B, and A and a host of other vitamins and minerals.
You can eat it both cooked or raw, and all parts of the weed are edible. Those who have tasted it (the author of this article has not) say it’s pretty good and, when cooked, tastes similar to spinach. When eaten raw, it is said to taste like corn silk. Most people who eat chickweed do so on sandwiches, in salads, or add it to stews.
It is still used for medicinal purposes in other countries, including as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, for digestive support, kidney support, and skin treatment. When applied topically, it is believed to treat a multitude of skin conditions, including burns, eczema, insect bites, psoriasis, rashes, and dry, itchy skin.
A member of the mint family, henbit is commonly confused with purple deadnettle. This is because it has greenish to purplish square stems. It is an annual broadleaf weed that grows in the winter through early spring. It can grow to be afoot and half tall and sprouts flowers that are reddish-purple with darker coloring in spots on its lower petals. It, too, was brought over to America as chicken fodder. All of its parts above ground are edible, and despite being a part of the mint family, it is said to taste or smell nothing like mint. Most people who have eaten henbit describe it as having a sweet, peppery flavor. Some say it tastes a lot like kale or celery.
Like chickweed, henbit has a ton of vitamins and minerals, including fiber. In other parts of the world, it is mostly used for its medicinal qualities. It is said to help with achy joints, reduce fever and relieve constipation. Like chickweed, it is best eaten in salads and sandwiches. Many people use it in smoothies or tea.
Crabgrass is a summer annual that germinates in the spring and lasts throughout the summer. It has many stems that grow out in all directions, making it look like a crab. It grows low to the ground and has long flat blades. In parts of Africa, crabgrass is used for grain. It can be used in place of flour and couscous or fermented for use in beer making. Now that is something I may have to taste. Crabgrass is not only nutritious, but it is fast-producing. Therefore, it has been gaining favor as a high-quality forage over the past couple of decades.
Everyone in Loganville, Georgia knows what a dandelion looks like. Their bright, yellow color stands out like a sore thumb in a green lawn. You probably remember picking them up as a kid, blowing on the seeds, and watching them dissipate. Dandelions are one of the most hated weeds in a home or business owner’s backyard. They grow fast and furious and no matter how hard we try, are terrible to keep up with.
Dandelions do, however, have a tremendous amount of health benefits. Every part of a dandelion is edible, including the roots and it can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots can be used as a coffee substitute, the leaves added to salads and sandwiches. The flowers are sweet and crunchy and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried. Many people use them to make dandelion syrup or wine.
Dandelions contain a large number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They include high amounts of vitamins K, A, B, C, and E and are full of antioxidants. For many years, dandelions were used for their medicinal purposes and were said to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, fight cancer and support healthy bones. There are dozens of recipes online and you can buy dandelion tea at regular grocery stores.
Not ready to go out and start picking your weeds and adding them to your meals just yet? No worries, neither are we. Interesting as the above information is, for most of us, it is not ideal. That’s why Environmental Turf Management offers bed weed control. Our bed weed control will eradicate and prevent broadleaf weeds from invading your yard, including those above. All of our professionals are knowledgeable, trained, and skilled technicians who understand weeds, our local climate, where and how to target them.
We also provide weed control as part of our seven-step fertilization program. Learn more about how this effective lawn care program can help your turf grow healthy and weed-free. Call 1-770-466-0234 or contact us here now to learn more about either program and how to get started. Then, check out our other blog articles and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.