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13 Weeds You Can Eat Without Dying

Fancy feasts from your own backyard—fo' free! Also great if you're ever stranded in the wild and need to not die.

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1. Dandelions

Creative Commons/Flickr: bdesham

Taste: Sweet and bitter ...but mostly bitter.

Best cooked: By battering 'n frying them. Or, for a fresher take, sprinkle raw baby dandelions in a salad.

BONUS: They have more beta-carotene than carrots. And you can eat their stems too.

2. Purslane

Creative Commons/Flickr: avlxyz

Taste: Spinach-y with hints of sour/acidity.

Best cooked: In a creamy winter soup, or raw in a salad.

BONUS: They're packed with antioxidant vitamins (A and C) and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Lamb's Quarters

Creative Commons/Flickr: merrycrafts

Taste: Close cousin to spinach; also known as "wild spinach."

Best cooked: Sautéed, or if you're feeling a little adventurous, mashed into a yummy and healthy pesto.

BONUS: Full of calcium, protein, and vitamins, this weed is one of the healthiest wild-grown veggies you can have.

Found specifically in the northeast region.

4. Cattail

Taste: Corn-like

Best cooked: Into griddle cakes.

BONUS: Their pollen can be used as flour in some recipes and it has the added nutritional components like vitamins A, B, and C, potassium and phosphorus.

5. Red Clovers

Creative Commons/ Flickr: suecan

Taste: Sweet and floral.

Best cooked: Not cooked, but kept raw! Or steeped in a hot tea.

BONUS: When used in teas, It helps eases symptoms of a cold and it's got a generous amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine, and Vitamin C.

*but take precautions when ingesting during pregnancy

6. Plantains (no, the other kind)

Taste: Nutty and asparagus-like.

Best cooked: By boiling and/or sautéing its leaves.

BONUS: Plantain weeds are literally found in most backyards/sidewalk cracks but they have a great nutritional palette of iron and important vitamins and minerals.

7. Sorrel

Flickr: pikerslanefarm /Creative Commons

Taste: Tart and citrus-y.

Best cooked: In an omelettemmm...

BONUS: Rich source of chlorophyll, which can stimulate the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

8. Watercress

Taste: Peppery with a spicy tang.

Best cooked: By not cooking it but by using it as a fresh sandwich accessory. It's a great substitute for arugula.

BONUS: It has more vitamin C than oranges AND has proven to have tremendous anti-aging effects in a trial.

9. Stinging Nettle

Taste: Spinach-y

Best cooked: In a frittata. MAKE SURE THEY'RE FULLY COOKED*

*forewarned by their name, stinging nettles will actually sting you if not properly cooked. Steaming or blanching them will get rid of the sting.

10. Chickweed

Taste: Spinach-y and corny

Best cooked: Uncooked, sprinkled in a fresh salad.

BONUS: They're loaded with vitamins, minerals, and omega-6 fatty acid. But be careful: eating too much can and will lead to diarrhea.

Generally found in California and well-watered regions.

11. Burdock (and their roots)

Flickr: frted /Creative Commons

Taste: A little bit like asparagus.

Best cooked: By chopping and stir-frying its roots.

BONUS: It's super excellent for your digestive system.

Found in northern regions of the country.

12. Fireweed

Taste: Peppery flowers; bitter leaves.

Best cooked: In a JELLY (for the very adventurous).

BONUS: A great source of vitamins A and C. Also, what a pretty color.

13. Pennycress

Flickr: plant_diversity /Creative Commons

Taste: Garlicky

Best cooked: By mashing its seeds into a mustard (again, for the adventurous ones).

BONUS: They're found everywhere! But be aware that these guys will soak up most minerals around them, so do not forage from contaminated soils.

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