One more "eat the weeds"

It’s that time of year, stuff is growing including things we might rather not have around. I had tried garlic mustard last year, taking rosettes of first-year leaves and cooking them the way Italians do dandelion and other bitter greens: blanching/boiling a few minutes, draining, then sauteeing with olive oil, salt, garlic, and maybe some chili flakes. It was…yuck. Really, really bitter.

This year on a whim I picked a number of flowering heads just as they were budding and I lacto-pickled them in a semi-Chinese fashion with the recipe linked below. I also added a handful of ramp leaves. 1.5 weeks in a room at about 72 degrees, tried them last night: they are salty, sour, a bit spicy, and delicious. I will absolutely do this again.


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That’s Alliaria petiolata you pickled?

image ,
Photo by [APhotoFlora]

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yup, although almost no flowers were showing more than maybe a trace of white yet since they hadn’t opened

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I made pesto out of it last year. Decent but not worth the present prices of the nuts and cheese.

i want to do a ramp pesto…leaves are easy and abundant to do sustainably

You are lucky in WI that it is easier to find ramp in wild. It is a pretty good wild veggie. Taste good sauteed, pickled, or cooked in other methods.
Dandelion has cancer fighting property, it is incorporated in cancer treatment in hospital in China. I eat it regularly as sprung green. Young leafs in spring are less bitter but it getting bitter as the temperature climbs. In the center there are whole bunch of flower buds which make the whole dish really bitter if they are not removed before cooking. Its roots are supposed to be most potent but I cut the root off and pick out the flower stocks (this easier to wash and clean the dandelion green ), only use the leafs.


Annie, i think i am lucky in that I FOUND a patch of ramps…there’s lots of places here I do not see them, and ironically the patch I found is literally in a huge park right off a heavily used pedestrian walkway. Because of this I am doubly careful to harvest responsibly, but I seem to be the only person digging at all in a spot that’s at least 5 acres of them as a full-on carpet in spring…and then I can walk another mile along the river itself and maybe see 2-3 patches of a few feet across.

Sounds really stupid but I think they’re where you find them. I’d love to find a few more, more remote spots this spring if I can make the time to…


There’s a great book called “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson. Weeds are natural plants, which have all the nutrition still in them. We breed plants so that they become sweet and bland. Then they lose their nutrition. I can’t tell you how many weeds I eat in the yard. Some of them were herbs I was going to buy, but they just showed up. Pretty awesome!
John S

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I put a good size dandelion root in my berry smoothie every day. I use honey to cover up the bitterness.