Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Eating Weeds

My dad had told me that my maternal grandmother took him out to the backyard once and starting naming off the various weeds that grew there and told him how to prepare them in recipes. Although my father has never fed me or anyone else weeds, it is because my grandmother had parents who were pioneers that she knew about this. Some pioneers, and others, have had to eat weeds to survive.

Now, I'm not advising you to go out in your yard and make a salad from your weeds. Some weeds are hallucinogenics and poisonous and you certainly don't want to pick one that your husband sprayed with weed killer.

A new blog I discovered is the Mormon Pioneer Foodways Blog, This blog has interesting food related articles about pioneer foods, doesn't have to necessarily be just what the Mormons ate. One reader commented on his ancestor eating weeds when they were sent to a new area to live.

It must be cautioned again that eating weeds is not a good idea if you do not know what you are eating. Consider this NY Times article from 1883 ,

Other peoples have a history of foraging and eating weeds also. Some people have resorted to eating weeds as a way to stem off starvation. In the book, We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman, available at Google books at, she talks of nurses choosing to eat weeds when rations by their Japanese prison guards was cut.

The Internet has recipes for weeds, such as Dandelion Salad,

So if you would like to try a pioneer experience, make sure you know your weeds and then look on the Internet and you just mind find a delicious recipe!

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