Shout Out: ‘Weed It and Reap: Making a Meal with Nature’s Outcasts’

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“Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch, and you’re probably walking on it every day.” A story reveals how to make meals with dandelions and other edible things that grow in your yard — and that you’re probably accustomed to treating with pesticides or angrily ripping out from the roots. Brilliant headline too.

Check out the story at, which includes recipes (Dandelion Greens With Bacon and Cherry Vinegar) and passages like:

Starting in the spring, there’s a veritable parade of weeds to eat. If you ask true foragers, they’ll reel off a list, hedging their enthusiasm with caveats: There’s the pest Japanese knotweed (only good when young) and the toxic-’til-boiled pokeweed (only good when mature) and that infamous encroacher, garlic mustard (best picked before flowering).

The writer’s favorite weed to munch? Nettle, which can sting and scratch your ankles if you walk through a patch without long pants, and which the author gathers in her backyard and puts inside homemade ravioli:

It took me half an hour to collect enough tender nettle tops to make a ravioli filling. Until the last five minutes, I foraged sting-free, gingerly picking my way over the rocky slope. I had frankly begun to suspect the nettle of being a hoax, when, zing — a tiny, burning arrow buried itself in my calf. I fled inside, a cloud of foul utterances coloring the air behind me.

The pain subsided soon enough, and was quickly replaced by much friendlier feelings. Once blanched, chopped and blended with some ricotta and Parmesan, the nettles were somehow both firm and tender. Bite after bite uncovered a deep, savory character that wasn’t a bit sour, bitter or barbed.

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