When we think of autumn foraging, wild fruits are likely the first things that spring to mind. But there are also other more unusual edibles to consider. Today, I thought I would mention three types of seed that I use around this time of year.
The first of these is nettle seeds. Nettle seeds might not be the first thing you think of when you consider wild foods. But they are surprisingly beneficial for your health, and taste good too. Wearing some gloves, of course, to prevent stings, I take the tops of some nettles and dry them out, then, once dry, I rub the plants to release the seeds. I then dry roast the seeds and use a teaspoon or so in breads and other baked goods, or sprinkled over salads.
Nettle seeds, in moderation, are said to boost energy and immune function. They are a stimulant and mood-booster also used in tinctures and teas. They are also said to help with endocrine and adrenal function, and help the kidneys and liver…
The second weed seed that I find to be useful is common hogweed seed. Of course, it is important to be careful over identification. I use common hogweed seed (technically actually the dried seed casings) in baking, where it gives a taste something akin to ginger, orange peel and caraway.
The final seed I want to mention is that of fat hen (Chenopodium). It is actually a close relative of quinoa, and the seeds can also be used in the same way. (As can the seeds of Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) which I grow in the forest garden. I often add the seeds to flour when baking bread.
Exploring the uses of the seeds of weeds and wild plants is another way to make sure that you make the most of the natural resources around you.