Weeds Health Uses =============================
Foragers and farmers have long appreciated the culinary properties of what some may think of as weeds.
Dandelions were cultivated in European gardens for centuries. The French found the affinity of dandelion greens to warm bacon, and the Italians sprinkled their cooked greens with a little hot pepper. Dandelions were intentionally brought to the New World for their uses as food and medicine.
Sailors used to store chickweed in on ships to supplement their diets to prevent scurvy because it’s rich in vitamin C.
- Italian ravioli d'ortica uses stinging nettles.
Patience Gray's classic Honey from a Weed demonstrates how vital weeds remain in southern European cooking
Weeds in US History
In West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, for example, whole festivals are built around the appearance of the ramp, or wild leek.
Native American/Mexican use of Weeds
Mexico's street food yses tlacoyos con quelites (lamb's quarters)
Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson's recent The Longevity Kitchen offers plenty of good recipes for them).
Fresh: The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook by Sergei and Valya Boutenko The Miracle Of Greens Dvd by Sergei Boutenko The Desktop Guide To Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars, A.H.G Edible & Medicinal Plants Of The Rockies by Linda Kershaw Nature’s Garden: A Guide To Identifying, Harvesting, And Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer Discovering Wild Plants by Janice Schofield Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate by John Kallas, PHD Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast by Jim Pojar and Andy Mackinnon Any on edibles by Lone Pine Press
Wild Plant Farmers
Maverick Farms, North Carolina. Tom Philpott is the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. - "we can never grow enough of our famously spicy arugula to satisfy demand. And like many farms that sell to neighboring communities, we favor tomato varieties that balance sweetness with acidity—and may well deliver an extra jolt of phytonutrients because of it."
Austin's wonderful Boggy Creek Farm features just-picked bunches of lamb's quarters and purslane right in the city
Why Eat Weeds
Weeds are naturally Non-GMO as it is not worth the time of big companies ...
Wild edible plants help to save your life in a survival scenario
Can be used to supplement meals at home
Make an adventure by involving the whole family in hunting and gathering exercises and reduce the weekly food budget.
See related document (Wild Plants for Health) for indepth coverage.
Learn about eating wild plants and you will get super nutrition discover new flavours save money reduce your carbon footprint be more self sufficient reconnect to nature
Loaded with phytonutrients. According to an op-ed by Jo Robinson in the Sunday New York Times, wild edible plants tend to be loaded with phytonutrients, "the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia." [Link here}(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opinion/sunday/breeding-the-nutrition-out-of-our-food.html?pagewanted=all)
Nutrient Density. Most cultivated crops—even celebrated healthy foods like spinach and blueberries—are pale copies of their wild progenitors in phytochemical terms, Robinson shows, adding some eye-popping infographics for emphasis. She is not talking about the small but significant decline in nutrient density since the industrialization of agriculture half a century ago, but rather a steep drop in phytonutrients that began when we "stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers." Robinson writes:
Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I've discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.
Better Flavor - Speculative, but older farmers from "old world" lament that we've lost a lot of flavor in the ages-old quest to breed for sweetness—and in the last 100 years or so, we've definitely lost still more by breeding for portability and shelf life.
India has tons of special vegetables and fruits
Compare old world plants vs the Western breeds and you will find that in native form are a tiny size compared to modern Western produce.
modern supermarket tomatoes bred to last for weeks post-harvest over old varieties selected to taste good when eaten quickly.
Training our tastebuds to natural flavorful, fibrous, wild and yes slightly bitter tastes, vs farm grown varieties bred to be insipidly sweet. If you come to like the nicely bitter, spicy flavors, then that pays off when we tend to avoid anything like pastries or artificial packaged foods.
Anti-cancer properties. Arugula is "very similar to its wild ancestor," NY Times Robinson notes, and "rich in cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates and higher in antioxidant activity than many green lettuces. Robinson also points to herbs, which she calls "wild plants incognito." That is, they much more closely resemble their wild antecedents than do, say, modern apples or tomatoes or corn. She adds: "We've long valued them for their intense flavors and aroma, which is why they've not been given a flavor makeover. Because we've left them well enough alone, their phytonutrient content has remained intact." Another example is parsley, and chefs often shower it on every meal, and even give it the starring role in salads.