Health and Nutritional Benefits of Pigweed

Pigweed (Amaranthus blitoides) is also known as amaranth and it is now found on most continents except Antarctica. The plant is often considered to be an invasive weed, but like many weeds, it is quite edible and healthy to eat. This edible wild plant originated in North America and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The plant can be found in all US States and Canadian provinces. It has such great benefits that survivalists would be doing well to recognize it and to learn of its medicinal properties. Pigweed appearance Some species of pigweed grow more than three feet in height, but Amaranthus blitoides is low growing and sprawling, seldom growing taller than a few inches tall, with the branches laying upon the ground. It sometimes forms dense mats and the stems can be over a foot in length. The leaves are small, rarely over a half-inch in length and oval-shaped. The flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. The stems usually contain some reddish coloration and the leaves are normally dark green. Pigweed in general This annual grows well in sandy soil and doesn’t like clay soils that don’t drain well and which can become compacted. It is common in waste places, along fence rows, in fields and in lawns. Some species are purposely grown as a food crop, particularly in Asia and parts of Africa. Besides the wonderful nutritional benefits, pigweed is easy to grow and all parts of the plant are edible. Native Americans primarily Continue Reading →

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A closer look at the value of cattails

Right now, the plants around here are getting ready for their winter slumber. However, one of the early plants that I look forward to seeing next spring are the cattails. This isn’t just because they are one of the signs that spring has come. Cattails in general Cattails (Typha latifolia) are plants that love boggy and marshy habitats, and they can often be seen growing in ditches, along river edges and in shallow lakes. They are sometimes called bulrushes, though there is another plant species that is the true bulrush. Though there are many species, the long, narrow, flat leaves, and also the flower spike, arise from a tuber that is usually found under a layer of mud and muck, a few inches deep. Cattails as food The tubers, immature flower spikes and the heart of the stem when the plant is young and just emerging are all quite edible and flavorful. The tubers were used by American Indians for a long time as a source of flour. For this, the tubers were collected, cleaned and boiled. They were then pulverized and the starchy water and pulp were allowed to dry out, leaving behind starch-rich flour that could be used the same way that wheat flour is used today. This is only one of the ways to make cattail flour. The boiled tubers were also eaten like potatoes. The young sprouts have a flavor similar to asparagus, once they are cooked. When they grow larger, about a foot and a Continue Reading →

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