STEEMIT CULINARY CHALLENGE #12 : Paleo Winter Weed Salad - 15 wild plants - with foraging ID quizsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #food3 years ago (edited)

Here's a salad that is totally paleo! I made it from weeds from my yard.


Step 1. Forage the greens

This is not the first salad I made for this Culinary Challenge. After I made my first salad and photos, I realized that one ingredient was unacceptable, even though it was completely delicious and healthy. So, I made another salad! I was curious to see if I could get enough of the same plants less than 24 hours later. Here is my second salad. You can see what I learned about eating Paleo, from my first weed salad.

My salad greens all came from my yard. I just took a walk. I took all the photos first, because that takes a lot longer than actually picking everything. Here are three collages with the plants I picked. Many of these plants grow in many parts of the world as weeds or garden escape artists.

These three photo collages show the plants that I foraged. The captions list their common names. But I include the scientific name in the plant list, because common names vary from place to place. Do you recognize any of them? Which ones do you have growing around you? Many of these plants are weeds and grow all over the world.


Left: Hedge mustard. Center top: Spearmint. Right top: Wild chives. Right bottom: Elephant garlic leaves. Center bottom: Wild arugula or rocket.


Top left: Chickweed and wild field mustard growing together. Top right: Cleavers or Stick Tights. Bottom right: Dandelion. Bottom left: Narrowleaf plantain.


Left: Purple dead-nettle. Center top: Bittercress. Right top: Cat's ear. Right bottom: Nipplewort. Center bottom: English daisy.

Step 2. Bring the harvest back to the kitchen

Back in the kitchen, I lay all my greens out to double-check that I don't have any non-edible plants. And I cull any poor quality plants. The numbers on each image correspond to the number in the plant identification list. Can you recognize any of them? Are any of your favorite wild greens here?





Step 3. Make the salad

Once I review all my plants, I put all the vegetation in a big pan to rinse them well. With all the winter weather, these plants can have mud and grit on them. And they can have slugs or snails on them, too. So it's important to rinse everything really well.

Then I drain the plants and chop them finely. I don't just chop them once, but a few times over. Chopping up all the greenery is not in fashion at fancy restaurants, but this is what makes a weed salad so tasty. By chopping them so finely, all the flavors mix together. You can see that my big pile of greens ends up a lot smaller in the final pile.


I put my chopped greens in a big salad bowl. To keep my salad within the Culinary Challenge Rules, I used my own homemade "balsamic vinegar". It's base is straight-up apple cider vinegar with no additives. I make it in the spring, from tender new growth from spruce trees (Engelmann Spruce in this case), peppercorns, and a little honey (from my own bees for the batch I'm using). I've mentioned my spruce tree balsamic vinegar in a previous post A Garden Harvest Repast, complete with a video showing how to make it.

I mixed my Spruce Tree Balsamic Vinegar with olive oil, and homemade raisins that I dehydrated from my homegrown seedless green grapes last autumn. To soften the raisins, I added hot water and let them sit about 10 minutes. I topped the salad with the dandelion flowers and homegrown English walnuts, too.



Ingredients: Weeds, raisins, walnuts, Spruce Tree Balsamic Vinaigrette. Paleo for salad lovers!

Plant List

  1. Narrowleaf plantain - Plantago lanceolata - leaves fall through early spring
  2. Chickweed - Stellaria media - from fall through spring
  3. Nipplewort - Lapsana communis - leaves fall through spring
  4. Spearmint - Mentha spicata - it lasts from spring until deep winter
  5. Hedge mustard – Sisymbrium officinale - leaves from fall through early summer
  6. Cleavers - Galium aparine - leaves late winter to late spring
  7. Purple deadnettle - Lamium purpureum - leaves fall through early spring
  8. Cats-ear - Hypochaeris radicata - winter leaves are tender and mild
  9. Wild chives - Allium schoeneprasum - leaves from fall through spring
  10. English daisy – Bellis perennis – leaves from fall through early summer
  11. Dandelion greens and flowers – Taraxacum officinale – winter leaves are tender and mild
  12. Bittercress - Cardamine hirsuta - leaves fall to early summer
  13. Elephant garlic - Allium ampeloprasum - leaves from fall through spring
  14. Field mustard greens – Brassica rapa – leaves from fall through early summer
  15. Wild arugula - Diplotaxis tenuifolia - leaves all year, except for deepest cold
  16. Engelmann spruce - Picea engelmannii - tender needles from new spring growth for the faux balsamic vinegar

What Do You Think?

Are there any wild plants to eat in your area in the winter? Do you enjoy any of these weeds in other times of the year? Did you enjoy any wild abundance in 2016? Are you interested in eating wild plants in 2017?

If there are any specific plants from this salad, or others that I've posted about, that you want to know more about, let me know. I'll put together a post about it.

Sustainable Paleo

Being able to eat wild plants, especially weeds, is the epitome of sustainability. The plants in this salad took absolutely zero effort from anyone, except for the picking and cooking. They take care of themselves. Many of them are invasive weeds, so we can pick all that we want. That's incredible and sustainable. I truly hope that every one of you can find wild plants around you, especially weeds, that are good to eat. This is real food for regular people. It's incredibly good food.

I write about foraging because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wilderness.

I would like Steemit to be the premier site for Foraging on the Internet! If you have any thoughts about foraging, or experiences to share, write a post and be sure to use the Foraging tag. And check out the @foraging-trail to see curated quality posts about foraging. Happy Foraging!

** Haphazard Homestead **

*** foraging, gardening, nature, simple living close to the land ***

All content is 100% Haphazard Homestead - photos and all!

I participate in Operation Translation. All my posts are available for translation under the rules listed on the linked post from @papa-pepper. Logo provided by @oepc85. Post goes 100% to Steem Power! Logo provided by @merej99


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@haphazard-hstead Congratulations!
This's a nice welcome come back isn't it ?

Thanks, @englishtchrivy! That is a nice welcome back -- although I haven't been able to be at my computer much. I will have to sit out challenge #13, too. Nice work, though, on managing a difficult competition. At least people will know what a fish is for #13, lol!

@haphazard-hstead lol :P
not all Enumbers are bad there ones that are natural but those that are marked orange and red here in the EU are mostly synthetic. EU is more "food conscious" than the US that am sure of . Even the mcdonalds here in the NL had to adjust to the eating habits of people. Can you customize your burger in the mcdo there? Here - they can. Never eaten there though and if am going to eat burger rather make it :)

I do trust food products from the EU more than the US, in many cases. (Of course, I trust the food from my own yard the best.) That's why I thought the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (from Italy) would be OK for the first salad I made for Culinary Challenge #12. But I learned something - as I explained in this post What I Learned About Eating Paleo From the Steemit Culinary Challenge.

And I try not to go to MaDonalds. If I have to (with other folks) I get the fish sandwich or a salad - not a burger, for sure!

This salad looks AMAZING! Yes, I would totally eat the stuff picked from my yard...but I like the stuff picked from your yard better. LOL
One thing I've noticed since moving to Florida - I really haven't seen any dandelions! Isn't that strange? I thought they grew everywhere.

Haha. I like the weeds in my yard, too -- a lot. I visited my parents in Arkansas the last couple weeks and their weeds weren't near so plentiful. I figured dandelions are most everywhere, too. I wonder if winter is an easier season for them, down in Florida. But if you haven't seen any, that's tough -- dandelions are one of my favorite wild greens. I wonder what good weeds you have in your area.

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Fantastic, very thorough food post, just lovely!

Thanks. I'm lucky that my yard has so many weeds, lol.

@haphazard-hstead right on time gal!

Am glad you're finally back! It's been a while!

Thank you for confirming in the chat about the ingredients of your vinegar - did watch the video though, too. That made it easier!

I wish you good luck!

I had 45 seconds to spare, lol! I learned something about Paleo in doing this challenge, for sure. : )

@haphazard-hstead we all did, you have no idea - how much.

I have never heard of anyone eating these before, I wouldn't be able to tell the good weed from the bad

There are so many great weeds to eat out there! I eat a lot of weeds. I like that the mix of weeds changes as the seasons change, too. If you follow the @foraging-trail, you can see that people are eating a lot of different wild foods. You might already be able to identify some plants - the next step is to find out of any of them are good to eat. Are there any plants that you do know how to identify already, rock solid?

I haven't a clue apart from the dandelion leaves.

Dandelions are one of my favorites. There are so many different ways to enjoy them. So you are off to a good start! : )

Its an interesting subject something I never knew about :)

It sure helps me see plants outdoors in a whole different light. But I have to keep telling people, "Don't step on lunch!" ; )

You should take a part time job weeding peoples gardens, getting paid and stocking up for lunch :)

Haha -- that's probably a good idea. But I have so many of my own weeds in my garden, too, lol. Weeds! They are everywhere! : )

I have a concrete garden so has my neighbours so no weeds near me lol

Lol, it sounds odd, but "too bad -- everyone could benefit from more weeds". : )

Great salad. @haphazard-hstead I wish you win. Good luck.

Thanks, @shady! I enjoy all my weeds. The first salad I made on Monday used a store-bought Balsamic Vinegar, so I had to make a second one on Tuesday, for lunch. I was a winner both days, those salads were so good! I hope you enjoy some tasty weeds sometime, too.

Good to "hear" from you again!! Amazing photos and insightful post! Good luck on the challenge!! :)

Thanks! I was visiting my parents for a couple weeks. I could barely keep up with curating the @gardening-trail and the @foraging-trail, while I was visiting them. So it's nice to get back to posting and commenting on other posts. I hope you get to eat some weeds! :D

Cool salad! Which would you say is the nicest tasting weed?

Each of them is good in one way or another. The narrowleaf plantain is interesting because it tastes like mushrooms. But it's a little "one note" to warrant eating it all alone. I use a lot of wild field mustard, on sandwiches and in cooked meals -- it's definitely in my top 5 favorite wild greens. But I use raw dandelion leaves so much -- in smoothies, as lettuce on sandwiches, and just a simple side-salad of nothing but the greens. I look for the tender leaves that haven't been stressed by too much direct sun or moisture stress. For big leaves, I strip out the center rib, where most of the bitterness is.

I see, sounds good. At least dandelions I know :-) If you don't mind me asking did you learn all about wild foraging as a child or adult? I want to bring my son up to know all about it, but I know very little myself. Would there be a particular book or other tool you'd recommend for me at all?

I grew up eating wild plants. My dad had me picking lambs quarter and poke and dock when I was only seven or eight years old. And that's 50 years ago, so I've eaten a lot of weeds, lol. But I learned a lot of other wild plants as an adult. There's more than a lifetime's worth of things to learn and I'm always trying new things, too. I have a YouTube channel "Haphazard Homestead", with quite a few wild foraging videos. I haven't been so active with my videos lately, but will be getting back to it soon. I'll try to do more posts about foraging (and I curate for the @foraging-trail -- it's all foraging posts from people here on Steemit). As far as books, it helps to know generally where you live. I have found that regionally focused books are best, rather than a general book that tries to cover everywhere.

Okay, thanks very much. I'll find you on Youtube and follow @forgaing-trail, and hopefully will learn a few things! I'll see if I can find a local book, I think actually the wholefoods shop in the next village sells a few books so perhaps they have something :-)

I remember that you are in Ireland. A regional book would be best for you. And one where it is clear that the people actually have harvested and used the plants in their book.

oh this is cool! thu am not familiar with most of them. Ilocanos in the Philippines are known to eat weeds, we eat anything veggies-like and make salads. right @englishtchrivy

I am always interested in seeing what weeds people are eating -- in any part of the world. So many people still have the knowledge and tradition of using nature's bounty. There is so much great food out there, just waiting for us to learn it and appreciate it. :D

true..but its kinda difficult to identify them. there are even wild fruits in the philippines that we dont take notice of, but its being sold in London.

Nice! My missus is paleo, this is a great guide.
Following for a very concise document and great research. Keep it up!

Thanks, I'm glad you found this helpful and interesting.

Congrats! I have sent you your Price as Steem Power !
I have addet you to a channel on chat too. cya

Congrats on placing 5th. So glad I was not the judge!

Thanks for the 5th place sponsorship, @knozaki2015! I appreciate you sharing your success here on Steemit, for sure!