My family eats weeds

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My grandma and brother, David, cook up some leaves. (Photo by Keiya Carlson)
My grandma and brother, David, cook up some leaves. (Photo by Keiya Carlson)

My family eats weeds

by: Keiya Carlson | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: April 23, 2016

This may sound crazy, but my family and I love to eat weeds. We’ve been doing it for years. We blame my grandma. My grandma is an outdoors person who has been living in mountain areas for years, from Yatsugatake 20 years ago, to her current home in Hakone.

Every time we visit and go for a walk, we lose my grandma because she wonders off looking for wild plants. Or, what I like to call, weeds.

Let me clarify that my grandma is not crazy. What she is, is a great gardener and a great cook. She talks about plants all the time. Plants I say, plants, plants, PLANTS! That’s all that comes out of her mouth!

As we walk through the woods, my grandma lectures us on the various wild plants. What is edible and what is not. Sometimes she gets mad when we pick the wrong things, but she gets over it.

You would be surprised on how many things you can eat from the woods:

  • Leaves of all shapes and sizes - Just ember, ALL leaves are not edible.
  •  Wild flowers - In fact, my grandma grew flowers that were edible in her garden and my brother and I would eat them!
  • Spiky stem-like weeds – If you pick or cook incorrectly, they can prick you.
  • Different types of wild berries - We’ve even made jam out of them. One very important thing to know: If birds are not eating the berries, you should not eat them either (especially if there is a dead bird laying on the ground!)

There are so many types of weeds that you can eat. It’s so much fun to discover new edible weeds. It’s also a lot of fun to cook them up. My favorite way is to make tempura with the wild stuff. My brother, who is not bad in the kitchen, loves to help my grandma prepare the weeds. It is good family fun!

My grandma is so good at making tempura, the key is not to let it get soggy. Because if it tastes oily it’s not good because it will sit in your stomach. My grandma makes nice and crispy tempura. I am always learning from her.

So next time you walk into the woods, open your eyes and look at the wonderful world of wild, edible weeds!!