With spring come back the leaves, buds, shoots and tender sprigs that some mow over or pull up. However, many of those so-called “weeds” are teeming with vitamin C and other good stuff.
See if you can fill in the blanks:
“According to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), __________ rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Minnich, in “Gardening for Better Nutrition” ranks them, out of all vegetables, including grains, seeds and greens, as tied for 9th best. According to these data, __________ are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.” (http://www.leaflady.org/health_benefits_of_dandelions.htm)
Want to know what the miracle vegetable is?
Before pulling the persistent buggers out of the yard and tossing them aside, mix the greens into a salad and top it with the flowers. Save the roots and stems for a diabetic you know. Dandelions are great for balancing blood sugar.
Dandelions are just one nutritious edible that grow everywhere. Try also foraging for:
wood sorrel sheep sorrel chickweed lambs quarters
Double check your plant identification before you eat anything! Local weed (and other plants) extraordinaire Eva Sommaripa of Eva’s Garden in Dartmouth has collaborated with friend Chef Didi Emmons to create a book dedicated to their favorite plants- complete with identification and recipes. Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm