Edible Weeds: How to Take Advantage of Nature’s Superfoods

Many gardeners consider weeds their arch nemesis, tainting the beauty of their seasonal flowers, shrubs, and manicured lawns and desecrating their perfectly sculpted gardens. Some weeds, however, do beautiful things for a garden, the local ecosystem, and even your dinner plate! It’s true; while it may seem strange to chow down on a plate full of weeds, there are some delectable edible varieties that make lovely additions to salads and other side dishes. Here are a few standout selections you might already have growing in your garden!


Edible Garden Weeds in British Columbia

The province of B.C. is full of native and invasive vegetation, and if you’re in the know, you can easily forage for edible weeds, keeping your stomach (and wallet!) full all year long. Here are a few of our favourite tasty and commonly-found edible weeds to add to your next summer salad: 


Most people are familiar with this edible garden weed, and they’re easily recognizable as some of the first plants to pop up in the spring. While the advent of manicured lawns took a serious toll on their popularity, dandelions were once prized as a nutrient-dense flower by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Chinese, and for good reason; these weeds are rich in potent vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C, among others. Enjoy dandelion leaves fresh in a salad, or make a dandelion tea with the roots.



Clover’s a preferred groundcover and lawn alternative for B.C. gardeners, and is one of the prettiest edible weeds you can hope to have sprouting in your garden. Clover is also packed with protein, iron, vitamin C, and dietary fibre, making it well-loved by humans and livestock alike. Clover flowers can be brewed into tea, added to jellies, or enjoyed fresh in salads, cocktails, or as garnishes in your favourite desserts. 


Considered one of the tastiest edible garden weeds, this crispy, lemon-flavoured plant is an enthusiastic re-seeder and will remain in your garden for decades if allowed. Purslane contains omega-3 fatty acids and many other essential minerals and nutrients, making it one of our favourite edibles. Its rich nutritional content is also why many cultures use purslane medicinally, and China even has an entire folklore surrounding this delicate weed. Eat it raw in fresh summer salads, or cook it up as a side dish. 



Chickweeds are sweet and nutrient-rich edible flowering plants commonly found in gardens or scattered in forests, and were once used as an herb to season food. Many Michelin-star restaurants use chickweed for making pesto, herb butter, and other superior dishes, as well as a substitute for spinach. Chickweed also makes an excellent groundcover, helping the soil in your gardens and lawns retain important nutrients. It’s also a loved food source for many wild birds and even chickens! 


Several varieties of annual pigweed are commonly used as edibles around the world. The most popular variety, redroot pigweed, is often used in many Northern Indian culinary dishes. Pigweed tastes like a more delicate version of chard and resembles other commonly-found leafy vegetables. Like other leafy greens, this edible weed is packed full of valuable nutrients, like vitamins A and C, folate, iron and calcium. Pigweed is an incredibly versatile edible plant due to its mild flavour, and it can be eaten raw or cooked into meals the same way as spinach. Many edible weed connoisseurs also enjoy grinding down their nutrient-packed seeds into flour to use in baked goods. 


Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles aren’t exactly the nicest of edible garden weeds, but they’ve nonetheless been used extensively throughout history as both a food and a medicine. High in protein, potassium, calcium and vitamin A, stinging nettles are worth the pain. Cooking, soaking, or drying them out will neutralize their bite and remove their stinging hairs, so make sure you don’t skip this step. Use this punchy plant in soups, as a side dish, or even as a pizza topper!


If you’ve never considered eating your garden weeds before, see how many of our recommendations you can find in your Powell River landscape and consider adding them to your next salad! Be careful when foraging, however, as many edible weeds have pretty clever lookalikes that might not be so good for you. Also, remember to thoroughly rinse off any weeds you forage before eating them to remove any traces of fertiliser, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals. Aside from this, if you have any other questions about weed management or lawn and garden care, stop by Mother Nature and chat with one of our friendly experts today. Happy foraging!