Wild Grape Leaves
The Lebanese use wild grape leaves growing in parks, and, if they are lucky enough on their own property. These edible wild plants are more tender and taste better than the domestic grape leaves one can buy in the store. I roll a meat and rice mixture consisting of rice, cinnamon, allspice, lemon juice and salt into each wild grape leaf and cook them on the stove top. You must blanch each grape leaf for 10 seconds to make it pliable and easier to roll. The taste is awesome!! You may click on this link if you want the step by step instructions and recipe.
Wild Mint Leaves
I am blessed to have wild mint leaves growing quite abundantly on my property! Of course the most common use for this edible wild plant is in making tea. They are so full of flavor and won’t stain your teeth like regular black tea. Mint leaves can be dried out and used all year long.
The Lebanese make a fabulous tasting and healthy salad using mint leaves, chopped tomatoes, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, cracked wheat and lettuce. All you need to do for this salad is first soak 1 to 2 cups of cracked wheat in water for about an hour or until it softens. Then you add to your desired taste the lemon, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, green onions, mint leaves and lettuce. If you are a tomato lover like I am, you can leave out the lettuce and just use more tomatoes. I very rarely use any specific measurements for any one ingredient when making most of my dishes. I will modify the ingredients depending upon who I am serving and their taste for certain spices and/or other food items. For example, my children have a taste for more lemon, garlic and onion than most people would desire.
We also have a little patch of wild chives growing on our property. They can be used for garnish in many recipes! The most famous one is on top of the sour cream placed inside a baked potato! Yummmm!!
Some other uses for chives:
- 1. Insect repellent and bee attraction
- 2. The roots will Keep your soil from eroding
- 3. Flowers can be eaten in salads
- 4. Use as part of your flower bed – ornamental borders
- 5. To add color to summer drinks, freeze a flower in each ice cube!
- 6. Use the flowers as part of a floral arrangement
- 7. Any surplus can be sold to your local restaurant
Our wild strawberries are delightfully turning up in several different places in the yard! They seem to like growing under a shady tree! The Birds love them too! You can eat and use them the same way you would domestic strawberries. These edible wild plants are quite tiny but each bite packs a flavorful punch!!
I don’t have any pictures of the wild carrots that are ready for harvesting as of yet, but, I do have a picture of the plant still in the ground! These edible wild plants are tasty little tidbits and can be used the same way one would use domestic carrots. They too are little powerhouses of flavor! It seems that plants grown in the wild pack a little more flavor than their domestic counterparts, even though sometimes the wild plants are smaller.
Wild Dandelion Greens
These edible wild plants are best when picked in the spring before they flower. Generally if you want to use them in a salad I would recommend picking them before they flower. However, a few people in my family pick them all summer long. Apparently lemon and garlic covers up the bitterness! Cooking also helps with the bitterness if you want to continue to use your dandelion greens all summer long. You can cook them as you would any other type of green.
Putting to good use the edible wild plants on your property not only saves money but saves time in trying to grow them domestically. They also have a stronger resistance against insects! Why not put those wild vegetables and fruits to good use until you get your domestic garden well established.
All pictures are the property of Judy E. Harrell © and copyrighted 2012