Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)
"The nutrition content of wild plants is so potent, you don't need much to fill up," she said on a recent weed identification hike. "A wild plant has 200 to 300 phytonutrients, compared to 30 to 50 in a domestic vegetable. Humans can eat more than 20,000 types of plants, but we usually confine ourselves to about 20."
The Geenes' mission with their business,
During a recent hike on the
"I like to compare apples to apples," Geene said. "That's where the nutrient analysis by
She has charts from the
"Many of these wild edibles are comparable to foods considered super foods," she said. "Two great examples are amaranth and lambsquarters."
Take amaranth. Its zinc content is higher than that of kale, a highly touted super food. It trumps Swiss chard for vitamin K. Amaranth also has the second-highest content of calcium, iron, potassium and riboflavin. And it makes a decent showing for magnesium, vitamins C and B6, and folate. Raw amaranth leaves are good in salads and have a flavor like Swiss chard.
Still not convinced of the nutritional benefits of wild edibles? Have a look at the nutrients in lambsquarters compared to all those good-for-you-vegetables. It takes top place for calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B6. It takes second place for phosphorous, vitamin C, thiamine, niacin and vitamin A. It places third for potassium and zinc, and fourth for iron and magnesium. When it is sautéed in olive oil with a little salt and pepper, it has a spinach flavor.
These two weeds are common in local yards. Other edible "super food" weeds that you might find near your house are purslane and mallow.
Before you grab scissors and a basket to head out on a foraging walk, it pays off to take a class like the ones the Geenes conduct.
Be careful where you plan to forage.
"Always get permission to forage," Geene said. "For instance, here on the
Geene has two fall workshops scheduled and would like to start a tasting club that would meet twice a month to learn about particular plants.
"I taught a class at the
A big part of the Geenes' business is collecting wild edible weed seeds to propagate plants. They sell the plants at local farmers markets. You can also hire them to help you plant a wild edible weed garden.
"Lots of edible wild plants grow around here with no assistance from us, despite our desert climate," Simon wrote in her
At the end of my plant identification hike with Geene, her parting comment was a quote by
Visit earthsgreengifts.com to learn more about the Geenes' wild edible weeds business.
(c)2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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