A weed in its simplest terms is an S.O.B plant you can’t seem to get rid of. Your grass is dead and that dang dandelion is still living. But I believe, once you finish reading my article, you may have a change of heart.
I remember a couple of years ago I would come home and see dandelions growing in my front yard. Like most Americans I would think, “These damn things will not go away.” I would pull them and wait until they came around again, then the battle would start all over. Then about a year ago, my fiancé said, “Did you know that you can eat dandelions? You can even make wine out of them.” That was the first time in my life I ever realized that weeds may not be 100% worthless.
In the last year of researching gardening, I have learned more about weeds. I am proud to say I have learned to love them. They are amazingly resilient to their environment. They are used throughout the world for herbal remedies. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Hopefully, I have shifted your mind away from weeds being horrible plants so I can now delve into the main reason I wrote this article. This simple, yet powerful idea entered my mind: How could I increase my emergency supply food and keep costs (space) down?
Here you go… Weeds and rice and/or beans very well could be the answer. Weeds grow with very little effort and it is cheap to get the seeds. Rice and beans are hands-down some of the cheapest items to buy in bulk. If you’re a low income family, or just like to try to cut costs, this could be an outstanding way to eat great, nutritious food for cheap.
Below is a short list of common weeds and what benefits they provide. Also included is a short take on rice and beans.
Before we begin the article there is the all important C.Y.A.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT recommending anything in this article for diet or health reasons. Some plants can KILL You. You MUST identify any plants you will consume with a 100% assurance before you eat it. I do not state that any information in this article is factual or true. It is up to the reader to verify all information in this article. If I have forgotten anything, please see my disclaimer. There, I think that should cover my backside :)
Beans and Rice are a staple food for the majority of the world. Each come in a variety of looks and flavor. Each holds different health properties. Below is just a general overview I have found through my research.
- Beans: “Beans are an excellent, non-fat source of protein. Just one cup of beans provides as much as 16 grams of protein. … Why is protein so important? The body converts protein into amino acids which make up and repair muscle and bone tissue. Protein also fights infections, helps heal wounds and regulates enzymes and hormones.” American Bean.org
- Rice: “Rice is packed full of vitamins and minerals and provides an excellent source of vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamin, niacin) and potassium. Brown rice and basmati rice have medium or low GI values, and are not associated with increasing risk factors for weight gain and diabetes. Rice has been found to be very easy to digest. It is low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in starch, and has a high nutritional content.” Yumasia.co.uk
Below are four of the most common found weeds. But these are not even the tip of the iceberg. The more you research, the more you will realize there is an ample food source just waiting for you to pluck it.
Lambsquarter: “This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese” Nutritiondata
Chickweeds: “Chickweeds are Medicinal and edible; they are very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals, can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb, tasting somewhat like spinach. The major plant constituents in Chickweed are Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc.” Altnatural
Dandelions: “According to these data, dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver!” Leaflady.org
Purslane: “Not only does purslane have five times the amount of Omega-3 Fatty acid that spinach has, but it also has stems high in vitamin C. Omega – 3 fatty acids are instrumental in regulating our metabolism. Purslane also contains alpha-linolenic acid (source: HealthGuidance.) Landscaping.about.com
Hopefully, I have sparked your interest into a new perspective of eating foods. If you plan on keeping emergency food, this will be a great way to reduce costs and space. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of weeds, than can I suggest to you the website, “The Survival Podcast.” He has an excellent episode about weeds. It is called, “Weeds-that-aren’t-weeds-unusal-ediblies.” I believe at the end of the show your eyes will open to a new world. Below, I leave you with a couple of more resources to get your started on your new path.
- FirstWays.com She holds a walking tour in Portland, Oregon once a month. She writes about the plants that can be found all around us in the city.
- Eat the Weeds, the name pretty much says it all.
- Wild Edible Plants can Save your Life: She lists 35 plants that are useful, plus much more.