Wonderful Weeds, Week Ending May 6

Dogwoods are in bloom and spring is truly underway in central Maryland, although the weather is still moody. Three days in a row last week, the temperatures skyrocketed into the upper 80s and lower 90s. Today, I’m bundled up against the damp chill appropriate to early April. Except it’s now May.

Only one new edible weed development this week – I finally found cleavers (Galium aparine) growing in a location where I felt it was safe to harvest – my own yard!


I have seen cleavers growing along roadsides for over a month, so it is not a “new” plant this week like most of my previous posts have showcased. But I avoid gathering plants from locations where they might have been exposed to exhaust fumes or leaky liquids from passing cars.

While cleavers are edible, my one nibble wasn’t that great. Cleavers are more known for medicinal rather than food uses, and now I understand why! I opted to make tea from the handful I collected.  Mild in both flavor and color, cleaver tea has a reputation as a tonic and alterative. (An alterative is a medicine that helps restore normal, healthy functions – yes, I had to look up the definition. And no, I don’t know if the tea restored any of my functions, normal and healthy or otherwise!)


  1. TJ,

    My yard is covered in dandelions now… How about a dandelion wine recipe?

    The Bushel & Peck is carrying a “Spring Mix” bag where much of the contents look a lot like your pictures. It is pretty tasty, except that one of the leaves tasted very bitter. My “Spring Mix” bag also illustrated a common problem I’m having with farmers’ market greens: the fact that greens are an ecosystem. Twice now on washing my Bushel & Peck salads, I found little live critters in there. So far I’m not aware of eating any extra protein but I suppose it’ll happen sooner or later… any advice in this regard, in terms of cleaning the food? I just use a salad spinner now.

  2. I may have missed the dandelion wine window locally! This is the recipe I was *going* to try, but I’m not sure I have 1 gallon worth of flowers anymore! They’ve all gone to seed. 😦 https://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/dandelion-wine-recipe-zmaz70sozgoe If you try it, you’ll have to let me know how it turns out!

    To remove critters from salad greens, I usually soak the greens in a big bowl of water. The bugs eventually float to the surface and I can just pick them out of the water. If it’s *really* bad, a small drop of dish soap in the water will break the surface tension enough that the bugs drown, and sink to the bottom. Then just rinse and run through your salad spinner as usual.

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