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5 Wildflowers You Can Eat

You can eat the weeds! Some are not safe, so be careful to consult a reliable source before you indulge (not just me!) For this list, I chose some flowering weeds that many will recognize. Do you know them? Have you tried to eat any of them?

Let me know in the comments!

#1 Chicory

You can eat the leaves of chicory when it's young. You can also take the unopened flower buds and pickle them. And as most of us know, chicory roots can be roasted to make a caffeine-free "coffee."

#2 Dandelion

In the spring, you can gather young dandelion leaves to eat in salads. Or you can cook them as greens. Some people take the flowers to make wine but you can also make a kind of syrup with them or use the petals in baking. The roots are dried to make a healthy tea. They can also be roasted for "coffee" - the same as chicory!

#3 Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's Lace is a wild carrot plant. Be very careful in identifying this plant because there are lookalikes that are not safe to eat! The leaves of wild carrot can be eaten the same as leaves of cultivated carrots. Some people use them to make pesto. The root can be dug up and cooked but it isn't as nice as the carrots we eat today.

  1. Yes, so true! I think perhaps wild carrot gets used more as a medicine or a survival food. The uncultivated root is woody and not sweet like our cultivated carrot. And since most of us think mostly of the root, it’s easy to be disappointed by wild carrot as a food.

#4 Milkweed

This plant has fluffy seeds like the dandelion - but they grow in a fat pod instead of coming from the flowers. When the pods are still small, you can pick them and cook them. They taste a bit like asparagus crossed with green beans. Don't wait too long to pick them, though! Otherwise, you'll end up with a mouthful of fluff!

#5 Fiddleheads

OK, I'm cheating a bit with this one because it isn't a flower. It's a fern. In North America, the ostrich fern is the one used. But there are others that are safe to eat in other places. Please be sure to buy these in the market or to consult a reliable field guide before picking!

Fiddleheads should be washed in several changes of water to remove bitterness. Boil or steam to cook them thoroughly. If you like, you can finish by sauteing in butter. But it's probably not safe to skip the steaming step.

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Written by Blue Sailor

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  1. Great article. We have most of these, and grow wild here in Southern California, except for the fern. My favorite is the chicory. I remember in old westerns the cowboys would boil chicory for coffee. Wonder what it tastes like.. Love all the photos, and tidbits of information.

    • That’s too bad! Sometimes you can find dandelion greens at the market. And your local spice dealer may have the dried root, as well as chicory root.

      If carrots grow where you live, then it’s probable that wild carrot does too. Look for it in empty lots or green spaces.

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