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Please note that medical advice is for people NOT to take dandelion if they have gallstones or gallbladder problems without consulting their doctor. There appears to be no scientific evidence for improvement of these conditions, and in fact the plant can cause inflammation of the gall bladder along with other side effects. Even Holland and Barrett offers this warning.
In the war dandelion root was dried and ground to make "coffee". Wild garlic is great but the secret of enjoying all salad weeds is to catch them young and tender to avoid bitterness.
When I weed my veg plot I always throw the weeds into my chicken run. The hens love them and often eat the roots as well. Weeds converted into eggs!
Nettle soup is superb, very healthy but use only the tender little leaves at the top of the plant, so you need a fairly big patch to collect enough


I think I will continue weeding mine out, dandilions grow like cabbages in my garden and would be tough as old boots.
Fascinating - I had no idea you could eat Himalayan balsam or knotweed - the things you learn every day never cease to amaze me!
Sorry everyone I should have made more clear the fact that I only eat the freshest, youngest leaves. I also harvest them before the plant has flowered, as this can sometimes make the leaves taste bitter. Also, those wishing to make nettle soup should only harvest the tips of the plant. It’s well worth finding patches growing in hard-to-reach places, as they’re less likely to have suffered the attentions of dogs! Happymarion – I’d heard about dandelion roots being ground into a coffee, but had no idea this was used in the war. Did you drink it? Did it taste good? Dave Hamilton – thanks for the info. I’d heard of knotweed being edible but didn’t know about Himalayan balsam. Perhaps we should take a different approach to eradicating them from our wild areas by eating them! Just a word of caution to everyone – Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are two of the most invasive weeds in the UK and cause huge problems – out-competing with native plants and upsetting the local ecosystem. Don’t be tempted to start cultivating them in your garden! Kate
We had dandelion coffee(in milk) at Guide camp every evening and went out like a light when we got into our sleeping bags(home-made from old blankets). It is supposed to be good for insomnia, but of course we had always spent a hectic day in the open air anyway!
How ironic that something called 'coffee' could be good for insomnia. Fascinating, thanks for sharing K x
A gardener that smokes? Your hands are needed to pull the weeds and prepare them for eating by you or your friends - no time to smoke.
Most weeds are welcome and I always consider that "A weed is but an unloved flower" I try my best to convert others, usually unsuccessfully! The wildlife attracted to our native "weeds" growing amongst my cottage garden plants gives me so much pleasure and creates a relaxed feel to the garden I used to have Japanese Knotweed but did pull it up continually until it just disappeared - I wish I had tried to eat it! The one weed I am also now trying to reduce in some areas of the garden is ground elder as it is smothering everything else - does anyone have any tips on how to do this organically without digging up all the plants in the border ?


I have the same problems with ground elder - apparently it's quite tasty too though! I'm going try it this year, if you google there's some info about how to use it. With the amount in our garden, we could feed an army.
I'm growing the pink flowered dandelion, a much prettier thing. Red Admiral caterpillars feed on nettles, so a wee patch will attract the butterfly to your garden.
I live in Crete and now at this time of year you can see the old Cretan ladies scouring the fields for "horta" (edible weeds). I now am a dap hand at collecting the many varieties and once collected, cleaned and put into a pan and just covered with water. Once ready,drain and put into dish,add lashings of olive oil and lemon juice...delicious. In earlier days they added eggs (in the shell) during the cooking and then shelled them to eat with the horta.
I live in Crete and now at this time of year you can see the old Cretan ladies scouring the fields for "horta" (edible weeds). I am now a dab hand at this. Once collected, they are washed many times, placed in a pan, covered with water and cooked until tender. Then they are drained, covered with lashings of olive oil and lemon juice...delicious!
I didn't know you could eat Himalayan balsam either, but don't think I could face it, as that slightly sweet smell mades me gag. I blame overexposure: it's a major pest down at our allotments and runs riot throughout the summer on our neighbouring Yorkshire Water site.