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24 responses to “Eat Your Lawn”

  1. Tovar Cerulli

    Nice post, Hank. Catherine and I eat dandelions (as her Italian grandmother used to), as well as lamb’s-quarters, johnny-jump-ups, and such.

    When spring comes, that is. Whether May is “soon enough,” as you put it, is a matter of opinion. But the cold clime here in Vermont does keep the human population down to a tolerable density. :-)

  2. deana@lostpastremembered

    Great post for foragers! There’s a guy in NYC that takes you around Central Park and tells you how many things there are to eat in NYC… it is wonderful fun… and lawn food is usually incredibly good for you!!

  3. C. H.

    Your post made me smile. Just yesterday I dug up some dandelions, chickweed, and other “weeds” and lovingly transplanted them to an unused part of my yard, in hopes of creating my own wild garden for when I don’t have time to forage. When I first started foraging 20 years ago, my husband teased me relentlessly about “eating the front lawn”. That stopped after the first time I made him puree of nettle soup!

  4. matt

    Lovely stuff – you sound like Landon :)

    I agree, I have never quite realized how grocery stores can charge so much for something you can quite happily get for free. Dandelions are one of my favorites.

    Love the photos too here mate, great work.

  5. Cork Graham

    Hank —

    You so well desribe for this side of the pond what Darina Allen, “the Julia Child of Ireland”, says pointedly in her upcoming March release cookbook (Forgotten Skills of Cooking): we’ve homogenized our lawns so much… and are losing out on the healthy riches you’ve so beautifully prepared.

    Your lawn salad would have made a perfect match for that wild boar babi guling we roasted at Native Hunt a couple weeks ago… Bring some on the next pig hunt!

    …You’re the second person this week to recommend Gibbon’s book.

  6. Josh

    Great post. I posted about the meaning of ‘weeds’ at my blog just in time, I guess.

    Northern California is great, ain’t it? Walk along and pick all the free good foods you could ever want. The streets are lined with gold, too.

    I see TONS of mallow out right now, already getting old… and thanks for identifying chickweed, which my ducks have taken a liking to. It grew in an absolutely beautiful clump at the base of our redwood tree this winter, so we let it stay. Now that it’s older, the ducks have torn it to ribbons, and are turning it into compost and eggs.

    Another thing one can do with vetch, by the way, is till it into the ground. If you’ve got a lot, then let it grow and produce some nitrogen for you, instead of pulling it and filling your ground with fossil-fuel nitrogen.

    I will also be reading your salad composition composition soon. Thanks for some great ideas wrapped in some good writing!

  7. Jason

    I’m not so hot on wild alliums. All those I’ve tried in SW Virginia lacked flavor. I *think* they’re more wild onion than wild garlic, but I’m not sure. Hence the “wild allium” moniker. They have a good scent, but that didn’t seem to translate into cooked form. And those were too tough for salads. The softer core lacked flavor as well. I gave up on the ones we had available. Perhaps I tried at the wrong times.

    I haven’t had Georgia ones yet, but likely will have some clumps I trust not to be mildly poisoned (by pesticides, etc.) in the next year. I *want* to use them; I just need to discover how.

  8. nhbow gal

    When we were quite young, my mother introduced my brother and I to foraging by showing us we could eat sheep sorrel, we called it sour grass, and the chives which had gone wild on the edges of the lawn. We learned plant identification at a very early age and it all started with eating the lawn. My parents were also avid gardeners, cooks and hunters and instilled a lifelong enjoyment of the outdoors and providing our own food in one way or another. Foraging in my yard is only a dream at this point, though, as it is still under over a foot of snow. Sigh.

  9. buzzie

    Great post!
    Funny how some people don’t trust what they can eat in their front or back yards, but will go and buy dandelion greens in a store.

    The wild garlic chives are a favorite flavoring for us in the spring and they are everywhere in our yard – so we gotta love ’em and use ’em. We’ll make a green dressing out of them puréed with olive oil (soon I hope)! It’s a false Spring day today. Snow is still on the ground but crocus are showing their greens and the sun is brilliant.

  10. C. H.


    Sorry for the confusion! No, we don’t have nettles in our yard, it’s way too dry. But I first started foraging (for dandelions) in the front yard–hence my husband’s teasing–and branched out from there…to the woods, to nettles and other good greens…

  11. my spatula

    damnit! my husband and i just spent the entire weekend weeding our entire garden and putting everything in the yard waste bin!

  12. Nate @ House of Annie

    Are Oxalis leaves edible?

    Since you are using foraged weeds in your salad, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month?

  13. mbe

    What a fantastic post! I can’t wait for spring to arrive in Vancouver so I can eat a nice salad like this.

  14. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    don’t forget pigweed (lamb’s quarter) and purslane – at least on the East Coast. Both good for salad. Lamb’s quarters can also be lightly cooked, and purslane is tasty pickled. Are they naturalized in California like they are for us?

  15. Bay Area Foraging with Hank Shaw

    […] weeds” are a great place to start. I wrote a primer on lawn foraging a while back that runs through the basics. Mostly these are salad greens, and right now is prime […]

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    […] fritters, and dandelion calzone! Also, Hank at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook wants to remind you to Eat Your Lawn, which sounds like a pretty good idea to […]

  17. Eating Invasives: Delicious or Dangerous? | Care2 Healthy Living

    […] grandmother collected dandelions, a spring bounty she served with a bacon dressing. The bitter greens were not unlike spinach or […]

  18. Meaghn

    Not sure if you will see this, Hank, since the post is old, but I used to line cook in Bandon, Oregon and my chef used to work for Nick. Small world!

  19. Eating Invasives: Delicious or Dangerous? | LCAT Blog

    […] grandmother collected dandelions, a spring bounty she served with a bacon dressing. The bitter greens were not unlike spinach or […]

  20. susan swing

    i need to know if this green in my yard is safe to eat?

  21. Bay Area Foraging with Hank Shaw — The Culinary Life

    […] weeds” are a great place to start. I wrote a primer on lawn foraging a while back that runs through the basics. Mostly these are salad greens, and right now is prime […]

  22. 6 Signs You’re in the Midst of a Spring Detox » My Website

    […] over a glass of beer, while you sit sipping your cayenne and lemon tea. Solid foods, maybe even spring weeds, call to you (after all, they’re green). Should you let them in? Eh, go for it! Picking […]

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