5 beneficial and edible weeds

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Robert Maurer
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You find them on the country paths and infest the cultivated fields, they are often unwelcome to the farmers because they damage and take the place of other crops.


Here is the identikit of weeds: a derogatory name for those that could become ingredients of an alternative and yes, even beneficial lunch: certainly not all, but some weeds are actually edibleand not only that: they also have therapeutic virtues and are very often used in herbal medicine.

 


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Dandelion

It is one of the weeds best known and most widespread: it is found along all the fields of the boot, on the edges of the flat roads as well as on the mountain ones.
Il dandelion it is edible in all its parts: from the leaves, to the flowers, up to the roots. The more tender leaves are excellent raw in salads, but also boiled and seasoned with oil and vinegar; the flowers, on the other hand, are delicious if preserved in vinegar or oil, or become a beautiful decoration for desserts.

 

Lampation

Il lampascione o lampagione is a plant widespread in the Mediterranean regions. The root is a bulb rich in mineral salts and is similar to a small onion with a bitter taste, the basis of many dishes especially in the kitchens of Basilicata and Puglia.
How to enjoy this weed? In oil or in vinegar!
The bulbs are placed in water and white vinegar (in equal quantities), and then boiled for about three minutes. Bay leaves and peppercorns are added. Drain and with new bay leaf and new pepper are placed inside small jars. They are covered with extra virgin olive oil with a not too marked taste.
With the same method they can be preserved in vinegar, or, just like with capers, in salt.
Finally in omelettes as a substitute for the more domestic onion or together with some herbs.



 

Milk thistle

It is a plant widespread in the center of the country and in the south.
In the kitchen the milk thistle uses the young central shoots, both raw, chopped in the salad, and cooked. The flower receptacles, collected before flowering, cleaned of thorny bracts are cooked like the bottoms of the artichoke.

 

Nettle

Known by all for its irritating power, it is very common in every place, from the sea to the mountains. In reality what for us is a 'weed bad has remarkable therapeutic properties and can be widely used in cooking.
We use nettle preferably the young and tender leaves, boiled and seasoned, alone or with other herbs, in soups, risottos, omelettes, as a filling for ravioli or in the famous nettle gnocchetti.


Papavero (Papaver rhoeas)

A true weed of wheat fields, the poppy is a very common plant present almost everywhere, from the plains to the low mountains. The leaves and young shoots of this plant are used, boiled and seasoned like spinach, they taste great! The young and tender sprouts can be eaten raw, seasoned with oil and lemon, cooked in risottos or breaded and fried.

Finally, remember that even plants such as elderberry, butcher's broom, borage and mallow are edible and full of beneficial properties, seeing is believing!


 

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