I’ve just discovered Vivien Weise’s excellent Cooking Weeds, a cookbook dedicated to, as the name suggests, using the abundance of edible native weeds available to us for free in a variety of imaginative and often mouthwatering recipes. She only includes common weeds that can be found in any London park or tow path, and clearly describes which weeds (and which parts) are edible, as well as including nutritional information for each plant. Plus, they are all illustrated to facilitate your picking efforts.
You learn, for instance, that Dandelion and Ground Elder contain far more Vitamin C than Broccoli, while Stinging nettle and and Chickweed both provide nearly double the Iron content of Spinach.
Recipes include “Daisy Ginger Soup”, “Dandelion Salad with Blood Oranges”, “Dead Nettle Aubergine Spread”, and my favourite, “Nipplewort African Style”:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter
5 handfuls nipplewort
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 litre vegetable stock
Chop the onions finely. Mix the oil and the peanut butter well together in a pan. Heat, add the onions and fry gently. Cut the tomatoes into cubes and chop the nipplewort finely. Add the tomatoes to the peanut butter mixture and stir in the chilli powder. Finally add the nipplewort and the vegetable stock. Cook for 10 minutes and serve with rice.