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Weeds You Can Eat: Dandelion

One person’s weed-filled lawn is another person’s salad bar.

Perhaps the most familiar lawn weed of them all, the dandelion may also be the weed that’s most known to be edible. In fact, the reason it exists in the U.S. is that European settlers introduced it as a salad green. You can buy dandelion greens at some specialty food markets, but odds are, there are some growing, for free, a whole lot closer to you. They have a slightly bitter taste when they mature, so harvest the tender leaves that appear in early spring and in late fall, when they’re sweetest. The flowers are edible too and have a mildly bittersweet flavor. And eat them up! Dandelions have more beta-carotene than carrots.

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Weeds You Can Eat: Bamboo

One person’s weed-filled lawn is another person’s salad bar.

This familiar plant, made into everything from floorboards to pajamas, is actually a type of grass. And if anyone near you has ever planted any (it’s actually grown by U.S. farmers in warm climates and even as far north as New England), there’s a good chance some of it will spread into your yard because, once it escapes, the weed can be very invasive and hard to control. Bamboo shoots are full of fiber, and are sometimes described as tasting like corn. Should any pop up in your vicinity, harvest shoots that are less than two weeks old and under 1 foot tall. Bamboo shoots have to be cooked before you eat them: Peel the outer leaves away and remove any tough flesh. Cut across the grain into one-eighth-inch slices, and boil in an uncovered pan for 20 minutes (or longer, if there’s still a bitter taste to them). After they’re prepared in this way, you can eat them with some soy sauce, add to salads, or use them in stir-fries.

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