Edible Salad Weeds
While most people pull and compost weeds in the garden, some exact their revenge on edible culprits by eating them. Never eat edible weeds which have survived herbicide treatment. Ask about chemical use before you harvest greens from locations other than your own lawn or garden.
Purslane is one common edible weed that can add valuable nutrients to the diet. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Some seed catalogs sell cultivated purslane seed that is reported to have better flavor than the common weed form found in gardens. Purslane has a cool, citrusy-green flavor. When mixed with other greens, purslane adds crunch and texture to an otherwise routine salad. When planting cultivated purslane, wait until the soil has warmed and the danger of frost has passed. Purslane is a succulent plant with fleshy, drought-tolerant leaves. It does best in hot weather and full sun.
Dandelions are an early spring weed and are a good source of vitamins. Instead of spraying dandelions in your lawn, try eating them. Young leaves can be used raw in salads while older leaves are usually steamed or braised. The yellow flower petals can also be added to salads, butters, or sauces to add color and interest. In some parts of the world, dandelion roots are roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Improved dandelion seed can be purchased through some seed catalogs. One French cultivar, `Montmagny', has 8 to 9" leaves that taste like mild chicory. Commercial cultivars are selected for their large, tender leaves.
Lambquarters can grow more than 4' tall and can be very difficult to pull or hoe when large. You can save much time and energy by harvesting it when young and tender. The leaves taste like spinach and the plant is related to the common cultivated spinach. The undersides of the leaves have a slightly rough texture so you may prefer it cooked rather than raw in a salad.