If you’re lucky enough to both have a garden and not be a vital key worker, you might just have a little more time to spend in your square of green right now.
Staying put and gardening have basically become a national endeavour (and a lesson on the homeschooling curriculum), but you can go a step further: combine those efforts and get fresh food on the table too.
Some of those weeds you’re hauling out of the ground are full of nutrients and could help bulk out your fresh produce drawer, helping reduce your trips to the supermarket too.
NB: Just be sure to do your research, wash them thoroughly and avoid any berries or mushrooms in case they’re poisonous.
Handle with caution (definitely wear gloves), go for the youngest looking nettles clogging up your patch and blanch them, then stir-fry, or cook them down and blitz into traditional nettle soup. And if you can rustle up some wild garlic, throw that in too.
Ok, so it is true that dandelions are a diuretic, but they’re unlikely to make you wet the bed, so scrap the childhood myth and start harvesting. The young leaves – try and grab them before the plant flowers – are great in salads, or you can pound them into a pesto, or brew them in dandelion tea. You win all the foraging points if you manage to discover some burdock too.
While you can easily grow these babies from seed, they often pop up all over the place anyway. The leaves, bright orange flowers and seed pods (which pop when you bite into them) are all edible and super pretty.
You can eat purslane raw – it’s mostly water, so is quite refreshing – but you can also sub it in anytime you’re reaching for some spinach and realise you’re out.
If you’re sick of discovering clover invading your lawn, do you worst: pick it and eat it. It has a slightly sour note, but will liven up a sandwich in place of your usual lettuce.
Another great salad option, you can eat chickweed stems, flowers, seeds and leaves. Use it to top noodles, chop and stir it through mash, or use it to add value to pasta sauce.
Super lemony and fresh, you can eat sorrel leaves without doing a thing to them (besides washing them). But if you can resist, save them for a garden salad and douse in olive oil.
Make daisy chains with the kids, and then eat them up for lunch. The texture might take a little getting used to, but it’ll be an experience.