You’d be surprised at how many familiar plants and flowers around you are actually edible. Suburban foraging is gaining popularity and takes the concept of local food to a new level. Interested in taking advantage of nature’s smorgasbord? It's all available in your local parklands, around waterways and even your own backyard.

Word of warning though: avoid well-trafficked areas where councils are more likely to spray weeds, or domestic animals might urinate (we’re looking at you, dogs!) Also, please be respectful - if you see a particularly ravishing nasturtium on someone else’s property that you think might go very nicely with your salad, it’s polite to ask before helping yourself.

Wild Fennel
Domestic fennel has a large white bulb whereas wild fennel is frond only with a strong aniseed smell. Great for stews, bread, salads, sausages, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes

This edible, medicinal plant and flower can be eaten raw in salads or use the leaves for stuffing, soups, stews or mixed into rice dishes. Some people add it to bath water to treat wounds. It can also be used as a colouring agent.

The most common lawn weed, this familiar yellow flower serves as a tonic for the liver and digestive system and helps relieve fluid retention. Use it as a salad green or cooked. Flower can be picked and fermented to make wine.

Wild Watercress
This grows wild along river banks and near waterways, and has a similar taste to nasturtiums. It is said to be one of the oldest known leafy greens consumed by humans.

A leafy, succulent green that can be used in salad sandwiches or steamed or stir fried. Helps thicken soups or stews. Can have a slight lemon-like taste.

Stinging Nettle
Always handle stinging nettles with gloves, and ensure you steep first in boiling water for 2-5 minutes to remove the sting. It makes a delicious tea, or add it to a Spinach & Fetta pie! It is also high in protein and iron, useful for arthritis and a herbal remedy for allergies, skin complaints, the list goes on...it’s a wonder plant!

This beautiful plant is entirely edible;  leaves, flowers, stems and seeds. Leaves & flowers can be used in salads, Seeds can be dried and ground to be used as a spice.

Pineapple Sage
Gets its name from its sweet smell with a mild sage flavour which goes well with fruit salads or banana smoothies.

Chive Blossom
Can be used in salads, mashed potato or anywhere you would use chives.

Borage Flowers
Also known as Star Flowers. They have a mild cucumber-like taste. Use them in salads, smoothies and gin cocktails!

Part of the sorrel family, this is considered a noxious weed in Australia, so if you see it pick it and eat it! It has a slightly sour taste and the leaves and flowers can be used as salad garnish.

Story featured on www.fooddaily.com.au on 14th March 2014 by Cameron Paterson, Grounded Gardens.


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