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Homesteaders turn extremely invasive plants into delicious dinner: 'This meal could easily be served at a fancy restaurant'

Foraging opportunities are abundant, from community gardens to public lands to your own yard.

Foraging opportunities are abundant, from community gardens to public lands to your own yard.

Photo Credit: TikTok

If your yard is covered in invasive garlic mustard, the best way to beat it…is to eat it. Homesteading couple Jordan and Silvan (@homegrown_handgathered) posted a video demonstrating how to make a delicious restaurant-quality meal using foraged invasive plants.

The scoop

"Here's how we turn invasive plants into delicious food," Jordan begins in the video, crouching over a row of garlic mustard. "It's one of the most invasive plants in North America. It's also in the same family as broccoli and kale, and it's incredibly nutritious."

@homegrown_handgathered How we turn wild invasive plants into delicious meals! #wildfoodforaging #foraging #gardenharvest #foragingtiktok #gardenharvestwithme ♬ Mazume - Shugo Tokumaru

He goes on to demonstrate how to prepare both the roots — ground up into a horseradish sauce — and the leaves, which he blanches before cooking with olive oil and salt.

Then he shows a pan sizzling with daylily tubers, another invasive plant that, according to him, tastes like potatoes.

"Eating invasive plants is just one way that foraging actually helps protect our ecosystem while feeding our communities," he says. "Everything on this plate is from our garden or the public land around us, and this meal could easily be served at a fancy restaurant."

Commenters were inspired. "This is what we should be taught in school," one enthused.

How it's working

Foraging opportunities are abundant, from community gardens to public lands to your own yard. Even in major cities, foraging is both possible and popular.

During the pandemic, both foraging and food gardening increased in the United States and United Kingdom. Now, more than one-third of U.K. adults grow at least a percentage of their own food, according to Cladco Decking. Interest in foraging has also soared, with some prominent foraging experts reporting a 500% increase in website traffic in 2020 alone, as relayed by Civil Eats.

🗣️ Which sustainable cooking change are you most interested in trying?

🔘 Reducing my food waste 🗑️

🔘 Eating more plant-based foods 🥕

🔘 Using high-tech kitchen tools 🍳

🔘 Not interested 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

One major benefit of foraging for food locally — other than the money savings — is that foraged food tends to be far more nutrient-rich since it has spent less (or no) time in transit than grocery produce. And with poor or imbalanced nutrition being linked to millions of deaths annually, that's a considerable benefit. 

Not to mention, it simply tastes better. 

"Wild food tends to taste better than flavorless food from the store," one person pointed out. "Some of the best meals I've had were foraged foods," another agreed.

Additionally, simply spending time in nature, particularly by gardening, has been shown to improve mental health.

What people are saying

Commenters were thrilled by the ease and accessibility of the recipe. 

"Looks absolutely like a restaurant meal someone would pay $500 for," one person said, impressed.

"Love removal of invasive species (both flora and fauna!), especially when we go on to actually use it rather than simply destroy!!" another wrote.

Multiple people shared that they had made a delicious pesto with garlic mustard, prompting others to want to try their own hand at foraging.

"I have a whole yard full of garlic mustard. I'll be harvesting later!" one said.

For more tips on how to start growing your own food, check out TCD's guide.

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