Sow thistle – Smooth, prickly, all sorts, all good!

Sow thistle, commonly called Milk Thistle in my part of the world, the Sonchus genus, grow in many somewhat different shapes and sizes – some softer and some rather rough and prickly.  We use them all, simply adjusting the use to the type of thistle.  The softer ones get used in salads, eaten raw in sandwiches or other similar ways.  The rough ones are generally added to green smoothies or included in well-cooked dishes such as a vegetarian pasta sauce.  The message is – Don’t be afraid to use them all, irregardless of how tough or prickly the particular sow thistle...

Persimmons – Thicken Smoothies

We enjoy adding persimmons to our smoothies.  They are an amazing fruit!  Persimmon fruit contains high amounts of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These neutralize free radicals which cause many degenerative diseases like ages, cancer, cataract and macular degeneration.  And they are extremely high in Vitamin C!  Another great thing about using them in smoothies is that, like bananas, they can thicken a smoothie, giving it a beautiful texture.  Another advantage – persimmons grow really easily in temperate...

Yacon or Peruvian Ground Apple

We are being lazy, copying from our Facebook page today Yacon or Peruvian Ground Apple is an incredible perennial edible and such a beautiful ornamental with unique-shaped leaves. The sweetness of its tubers come from inulin. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Delicious and one plant can produce 7 kilos of food – we are harvesting ours now! Fresh and tasty as a fruit salad but also a great roasted potato – amazing! Tea made from Yacon leaves contain healthy antioxidants and prebiotics, as well as other beneficial phytonutrients. Plant three or four corms now to have this food source in your garden forever! (Green Harvest is one supplier of corms...

Kids and Edible Weeds

It’s a real joy having children along on an Edible Weed Walk.  They always ask the best questions – like ‘If you only ate weeds, would you eventually turn green?’  And kids can generally tell adults a thing or two about which plants are edible!  It was my daughter, for example, who taught me to suck the nectar from jasmine flowers.  How wonderful if all adults could become like children again, opening their minds and their hearts to the abundance freely provided by...

Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)

One of my favourite salad greens/green smoothie ingredients is Nipplewort.  It is also delightfully called Irish Wildflowers. I don’t hear this edible weed mentioned much.  Could be something to do with the name! Here is one place nipplewort show ups as an important plant – ‘Nanakusa no Sekku’ day in Japan. Japanese traditionally have porridge of seven edible spring herbs on January 7th every year – water dropwort, shepherd’s purse, cudweed, chickweed, nipplewort, turnip and...

Prickly currant bush (Coprosma quadrifida) Tasty Australian ‘BushFood’

There’s a lot of talk these days about Australian Bush Foods.  These foods come from plants or animals which are native to Australia.  Whilst most of the focus is on a few ‘gourmet’ products which can be found in retail outlets, there are many native bush foods which can be found all around us in Australia.  Here in Melbourne a particularly ‘weedy’ and prevalent native plant is Prickly Current Bush.  I have several in my yard.  Recently on an Edible Weeds Walk at Organic Empire we spotted a number of these plants,  Members of the group were fascinated to be able to sample these delicious little...

Heirloom skills – what’s this all about?

These days I am often called ‘The Weeds Lady’. But like most of us, I have other interests and I do other things! One topic I am passionate about is Heirloom Skills. Foraging is an heirloom skill. So, why not consider, ‘What other skills would be useful or interesting?’ The term Heirloom Skills was brought to broader public attention (and possibly even coined) by Rachel Kaplan. These are skills which were commonplace way back before the Industrial Revolution.  Since the Industrial Revolution, we have increasingly traded our ‘real world’ skills for technological skills.  A young friend of mine recently said she couldn’t wait for virtual reality in computer games to get so good she could live in virtual reality.  I had visions of the life support system being turned off and a generation of children wandering around in a confused daze! Please indulge me if I take a few posts now and then to talk about this topic.  I figure if you are at this website these things might interest you.  So happy foraging and please consider other Heirloom Skills! (to get the ball rolling, here is some soap from one of my recent natural soap-making classes!)  ...

Mallow Tea for those winter sore throats

I am a pretty healthy specimen most of the time but one of those pesky little winter colds recently got me. The worst part was the raspy, sore throat. Talking at a workshop for six hours probably didn’t help! So, what to do? In this situation, I turn to the most soothing thing in the garden – mallow! In my part of the world Malva sylvestris is the most common mallow, but other mallows have similar properties. How do you make mallow tea?  Take four or five mallow leaves, tear them up and put them into a tea infuser.  Pop the infuser in the cup and add hot water.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then sip.  Feel your throat smile! Now and then, I like to add some other helpful ingredients.  A few slices of tumeric which is anti-inflammatory, and, perhaps some ginger simply for the flavour, or for some of it’s healing properties.  Mallow tea has almost no flavour on its own so you can add whatever flavour you like. Mallow is also great added to any dish you want to thicken.  The same properties that sooth a sore throat also thicken a stew! Here’s a picture of a really large mallow leaf we found recently at an Edible Weeds Walk at the Darebin Parklands in Alphington.  These biggies are used in the Middle East to make a type of dolma!  What an amazing plant!...

Welcome to Our New Website!

Hello Little Weed has a new website! Thank you to Leanne Dowling at Yarra Valley Websites (0406 251 406) for moving us to WordPress, giving us a fresh look and adding some functionality to help us manage our events.  Thanks go also go Campbell Imray at we like small for getting us started and taking care of our website for the past four years.  Campbell has frolicked off into permaculture wonderland, contributing his substantial energy to saving the planet at Agari Farm http://agarifarm.org/ Give us some feedback on the new look Hello Little Weed site.  In particular, does it look good and is it easy to find stuff!  And is there anything you would like us to add?  We look forward to hearing from you! In the meantime, book in for one of our Edible Weed Walks or other Edible Weeds events.  We hope to see you soon.  In the meantime … Happy...