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Why Are We Not Eating The Weeds?


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#1 Farming guy

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 05:17 PM

There is a retired person living near some of our hay fields, and every year I see him trying to rid his lawn of dandelions.  Why not toss them in a salad instead?http://www.ediblewil...ible-weeds.aspx  

 

We have edible weeds all around us as a society while we try to maintain weed free crops.  I have been trying to get my wife to try lambsquarter with no success, even though I have tried it and find it tastes better than the spinach and brussel sprouts that she enjoys.

 

What would it take for the practice of eating weeds to become more mainstream? 


Edited by Farming guy, 23 March 2017 - 05:18 PM.


#2 A-wal

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 05:31 PM

For them to taste better I suppose. :)



#3 JMJones0424

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:50 PM

I recognize that it is personal preference, but I like the flavor of dandelion greens in a salad.  The answer to why we are not eating the weeds, even though a few of us are eating a few of the weeds, is that these plants are not or have not yet been demonstrated to be marketable on a large scale.  There are many reasons why this may be the case.  If anyone is interested in eating naturally occurring plants in the state of Texas, I recommend Foraging Texas as a pretty good resource.

 

In my area, dandelions are not a desirable commodity in hay production simply because the market expects a monoculture of coastal bermuda.  It is difficult as an individual producer to correct the consumer's pre-conceived expectations.  I could ask, why don't you specifically harvest the dandelion greens in your pasture but instead let them be aggregated in baled hay?  This question makes more assumptions about your situation then I have any right to make given your post.  Likewise, dandelion is an invasive, though delicious, plant.  If one wishes to maintain a manicured lawn, I can think of no reason to encourage dandelion growth.  If one wishes to maintain a food source, I can think of no reason to encourage a manicured lawn.



#4 Farming guy

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 06:53 AM

For them to taste better I suppose. :)

They taste quite good, but it's difficult to even get people to try

 

  The answer to why we are not eating the weeds, even though a few of us are eating a few of the weeds, is that these plants are not or have not yet been demonstrated to be marketable on a large scale. .  I could ask, why don't you specifically harvest the dandelion greens in your pasture but instead let them be aggregated in baled hay?  This question makes more assumptions about your situation then I have any right to make given your post.  Likewise, dandelion is an invasive, though delicious, plant.  If one wishes to maintain a manicured lawn, I can think of no reason to encourage dandelion growth.  If one wishes to maintain a food source, I can think of no reason to encourage a manicured lawn.

The thing is, there are all these edible plants growing all around us, and we won't touch them.

 

As for the hay, we make no effort to get rid of weeds in our hay fields.  Dandelions have little effect on yields, and provide added nutrition to the crop. 



#5 exchemist

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 08:17 AM

They taste quite good, but it's difficult to even get people to try

 

The thing is, there are all these edible plants growing all around us, and we won't touch them.

 

As for the hay, we make no effort to get rid of weeds in our hay fields.  Dandelions have little effect on yields, and provide added nutrition to the crop. 

The Anglophone world has almost forgotten these things, sadly, due I think to urban supermarket culture and the related notion of food as a convenience commodity for refuelling with minimum effort. In France, pissenlit (dandelion, dent de lion) is eaten in salads and you can buy frozen oseille (sorrel) in Picard, the frozen food chain.

 

I would love to think that those still close to the soil might be able to encourage at least a small segment of the population to rediscover these little things, which give novelty and pleasure at very little cost. Trouble is, if your bread is crap then salads are not much fun. And that is one of the big sins of the industrialisation of food in the English-speaking world. Oseille you have to cook, but it goes very well mixed with some cream as a sour sauce for fried fish and things like that..... 


Edited by exchemist, 24 March 2017 - 08:21 AM.


#6 DrKrettin

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 09:13 AM

Surely by definition we can't eat weeds. If we did, they would not be called weeds. But living in the country surrounded by self-sufficiency types, I was impressed by the number of people who ate whatever grew in the garden - dandelions, nettles etc.The problem is that a lot of weeds are actually toxic - we were plagued by ragwort.



#7 exchemist

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 09:28 AM

Surely by definition we can't eat weeds. If we did, they would not be called weeds. But living in the country surrounded by self-sufficiency types, I was impressed by the number of people who ate whatever grew in the garden - dandelions, nettles etc.The problem is that a lot of weeds are actually toxic - we were plagued by ragwort.

Not sure. Dandelion is a great example. To gardeners, and to farmers, evidently, it is a weed - but it is a good salad ingredient. 

 

Re nettles, my son once made nettle (l'ortie, f) soup in Brittany. It was a green colour but tasted only of the other  ingredients, viz. stock, onions, potatoes and milk. Amusingly, the French on-line recipe we had found solemnly advised what sort of wine to drink with it! (Personally I agree with Hugh Johnson that soup does not require wine.) I made a fool of myself - and caused much amusement - by confusing les orties avec les orteils (l'orteil, m, toe).   Toe soup..... 


Edited by exchemist, 24 March 2017 - 09:31 AM.


#8 DrKrettin

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

Well, I like to take an occasional friendly swipe at our neighbours, so I'll claim that the French eat everything that moves and most things that don't, but it doesn't follow that it always has a taste or a food content. As with all good ideas, such as eating weeds, there are practical disadvantages which usually explain why we don't bother. Take nettles for example -  if you really have run out of frogs and truffles you can make nettle soup but have to use the smallest freshest leaves and are left with the problem of what to do with the tons which are surplus. That and as you say, there is no detectable nettle taste. A neighbour used to eat it because she said she loved the taste of iron. But she was into astrology as well, so there was no point in discussing anything.



#9 exchemist

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:10 AM

Well, I like to take an occasional friendly swipe at our neighbours, so I'll claim that the French eat everything that moves and most things that don't, but it doesn't follow that it always has a taste or a food content. As with all good ideas, such as eating weeds, there are practical disadvantages which usually explain why we don't bother. Take nettles for example -  if you really have run out of frogs and truffles you can make nettle soup but have to use the smallest freshest leaves and are left with the problem of what to do with the tons which are surplus. That and as you say, there is no detectable nettle taste. A neighbour used to eat it because she said she loved the taste of iron. But she was into astrology as well, so there was no point in discussing anything.

Reminds me of a pretty neighbour of mine when I lived round the back of the boathouses in Putney. We went out a couple of times, but I soon found out that, thought very intelligent, articulate and charming, she was one of those people who go in for ballocks. I had to add this to my set of selection rules (terminology borrowed from spectroscopy) for women. (The other "forbidden" categories were smokers, vegetarians and people who I worked with.....) 



#10 Farming guy

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:01 PM

Surely by definition we can't eat weeds. If we did, they would not be called weeds. But living in the country surrounded by self-sufficiency types, I was impressed by the number of people who ate whatever grew in the garden - dandelions, nettles etc.The problem is that a lot of weeds are actually toxic - we were plagued by ragwort.

Actually, a weed is any plant growing where you don't want it to grow.  Since the advent of roundup ready corn there has been a problem managing volunteer corn in other crops that they are rotated with such as soybeans.  http://bulletin.ipm....es/200103k.html  



#11 DrKrettin

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

Actually, a weed is any plant growing where you don't want it to grow.  

 

I stand corrected - that is a much more accepted definition. I've just tried to google "weed" and had difficulty reaching a meaningful link.  :innocent:



#12 Farming guy

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:20 PM

I stand corrected - that is a much more accepted definition. I've just tried to google "weed" and had difficulty reaching a meaningful link.  :innocent:

Were all of the links you reached  too high to hold meaning? 


Edited by Farming guy, 24 March 2017 - 01:21 PM.


#13 Turtle

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:25 PM

I occasionally snack on Chickweed (Stellaria media) and Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpurea) when I cross them afield. Both are introduced 'weeds' in the US of A.

#14 DrKrettin

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 02:58 AM

Were all of the links you reached  too high to hold meaning? 

 

haha - the most irritating thing about searching on the internet for something serious is that most of the hits are for something really trivial - in this case a TV series. Usually, when searching for a term in physics, in comes up with 1000 hits on something like a heavy metal group who have hijacked the name.

 

It is a depressing reflection on priorities in this crazy world.



#15 OceanBreeze

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 04:24 AM

Why Are We Not Eating The Weeds?

 

We do. We just let other animals eat the weeds, then we kill and eat the other animals.



#16 DrKrettin

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 06:16 AM

Why Are We Not Eating The Weeds?

 

We do. We just let other animals eat the weeds, then we kill and eat the other animals.

 

Erm - nice idea, but it's not easy to come up with many animals which do that. Rabbits? 



#17 OceanBreeze

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 09:50 AM

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