Imagine you’ve been out working all day in your yard. Here in the beautiful Columbia-Shuswap region, it is not difficult for many to picture. You have done all your research to find information about invasive weeds online, and you feel confident in identifying what doesn’t belong. Once you have located those weeds, you carefully remove them.
What happens to the weeds next? Many people will continue with proper disposal at the landfill, but what if there was another sustainable way to make use of those weeds?
Several weed species, some of which are classified as invasive due to their detrimental impacts on people, the environment, or the economy, are actually edible and often quite delicious. Dishes range from delicious Himalayan blackberry tarts, to salads of chickweed, lambs quarter and purslane (which is very high in Omega-3). Some species, such as burdock, have been used historically to make tea, medicines, and even chips!
Burdock Chip Recipe
Chips made from the root of Burdock plants are surprisingly easy to make if you understand how to harvest and prepare them. Burdock is a biennial plant, meaning it takes two years to complete its lifecycle. During the first year the plant will grow only leaves and roots. It will then go dormant for the winter and finally produce flowers during the second year. Burdock roots are best dug out in the fall of their first year, before they have flowered and look similar to rhubarb.
Once harvested, the Burdock root should be peeled and cut into thin slices. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add your preferred amount of sea salt. While preparing the chips, preheat the oven to 450F. It should take 20 minutes, flipping halfway, until your delicious Burdock snack is perfectly crispy and ready for eating!
A word of caution: while these snacks are simple and free, there could be a great cost to the environment if they are not handled safely. Invasive weeds have the ability to rapidly spread by a variety of methods. For this reason, the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society asks that you never compost the clippings or excess plant material, and be careful to avoid spreading any seeds.
Proper disposal of invasive plants can be done free of charge at any CSRD landfill.
Interested in more easy, free invasive weed recipes? The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) and the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES) are hosting an Edible Invasive Plant Workshop on Sept. 16, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Revelstoke Workers Memorial. Come along to get specifics on how to ID plants and how to choose a safe harvest location. There will also be a selection of free recipes and the opportunity to partake in some edible invasive treats!
For more information, visit columbiashuswapinvasives.org or follow us on Facebook @ColumbiaShuswapInvasives.