Sodbusters, the grass and sod experts, located in Charleston, South Carolina, find that our clients are often surprised that several common weed types are edible. Those annoying weeds that invade your lush, green grass are actually valuable foods that are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and protein and sometimes even more nutritious than those found at the grocery store. In this article, we will discuss several edible weed varieties found in South Carolina and recipes to help you enjoy them.
What are Common Edible Weed Varieties in South Carolina?
Dandelions have a slightly bitter taste when they mature, so harvest the tender leaves that appear in early spring and in late fall, when they are at their sweetest. The flowers are edible too and have a mildly bittersweet flavor. Dandelions have more beta-carotene than carrots. A favorite recipe is Dandelion Greens with a Kick.
Bamboo. Bamboo has been made into everything from floorboards to pajamas. As a weed, bamboo can be very invasive and hard to control.
Bamboo shoots are full of fiber and are sometimes described as tasting like corn. Should any pop up in your vicinity, harvest shoots that are less than two weeks old and under 1-foot tall. Bamboo shoots have to be cooked before you eat them: Peel the outer leaves away and remove any tough flesh. Cut across the grain into one-eighth-inch slices, and boil in an uncovered pan for 20 minutes. After they are prepared in this way, you can eat them with some soy sauce, add to salads, or use them in stir-fries.
Lamb’s Quarter. Lamb’s quarter, used by the American Blackfoot Indians during the 16th century, is a purifying plant and helps to restore healthy nutrients to poor-quality soil. This unique plant tends to spread quickly regardless of the soil condition. A single lamb’s quarter plant can produce up to 75,000 seeds.
Seasonal Eats offers several Lamb’s Quarter recipes:
Lambsquarters Breakfast Ramekin — pack a punch of green vitamins when you sauté lambsquarters and bake them up with an egg for breakfast.
Lambsquarters & Peach Green Smoothie — if you’re a fan of green smoothies, this article has a simple healthy preparation for you at the bottom of the page.
Lambsquarters salad — this salad has the fresh, bright flavors of lemon, cilantro and garlic.
Lambsquarter sauté — treat lambsquarters as a sauté green and enjoy it with onions, lemon juice and sesame seeds.
Lambsquarters and Beans — this hearty recipe is great for a side dish in the cooler months of late-Winter / early-Spring.