Generally, we think of weeds as pesky plants needing to be removed from our yards and gardens. But weeds actually provide several benefits you might want to consider before digging them out — especially in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Just imagine being able to concoct highly nutritious meals using ingredients from your backyard! This is an especially helpful feature when you’re looking over your shoulder for the walking dead.
Yes, that’s right! This most common of pesky plants is great in salads, wine, and dessert. Dandelions are high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. These nutrients are important for your body at any time, but even more so when you’re fighting off a zombie. Check out more recipes using these little yellow flowers.
Chickweed should be considered a superfood, not a weed. In addition to providing lots of vitamins, chickweed helps with inflammation, pain relief, digestion, kidney support, and skincare. With such a long list of benefits, it seems more appropriate to place chickweed in the vegetable aisle than in the dumpster.
As for flavor, chickweed is not lacking! With a pleasant taste, it pairs well with sandwiches, salads, and more. Raw or cooked, chickweed should definitely be amongst the top five weeds to include in your zombie apocalypse pantry.
3. Self Heal
As the name implies, the self-heal plant is both edible and medicinal. With leaves and flowers high in antioxidants, this little common weed — raw, cooked, made into a drink — can help numerous health problems and keep you full. In fact, you can use self heal teas and tinctures for every malady from a headache to diabetes to burns to viral infections!
4. Red Clover
Self-heal is hard to beat, but red clover is another incredible weed. Its leaves have a faint bean-like taste that works well in salads, soup, and even pasta dishes. The flowers are the best part, but don’t make the mistake of eating too many! While tasty, red clovers can cause bloating and gas if eaten in large amounts.
The list of nutrients contained in red clover is extensive. From Vitamin B2 to zinc, protein to antioxidants, isoflavones to tocopherol, red clover has everything going for it. Definitely a staple for your zombie apocalypse pantry.
You may have noticed this trend, but plantains are another great salad addition. However, the leaves grow more bitter the older they get, so make sure to pick young spring leaves for salads and leave the tougher ones for soups and stews. Plantains also provide a little bit of crunch — just cook the seeds and you’ve got an au naturel crouton!
6. Garlic Grass
This weed is fairly self-explanatory. Because it grows in many parts of the world, garlic is easily accessible and a great way to incorporate flavor into your food. A versatile ingredient, garlic also has numerous medicinal properties. It boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol. Garlic may even help you live longer, definitely a plus when surviving amidst the walking dead!
Sorrel, also known as wood sorrel, has wispy leaf stems that serve as a delicious seasoning, salad base, or herbal tea. You can use the leaves, flowers, and seed pods from this weed. And while you can eat it by itself, sorrel pairs nicely with meat, especially wild game, fish, and other greens.
Watercress is a good option if you need to store food during a zombie siege. You can keep this weed indefinitely in a bowl of water, so long as you can change the water daily. Raw or cooked, this green tastes great with fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts — pretty much anything that strikes your fancy!
Stinging nettles can be irritating, especially if you unknowingly walk into a large patch without shoes on. But they are great for your health and for eating. Fresh, dried, steamed, frozen, fried — regardless of how you choose to prepare nettles, the only caveat you need to keep in mind is to not overcook them. Not only does this plant taste good, but it also improves your circulation, prevents kidney stones, helps detoxify your body, and strengthens your bones (definitely something you’ll appreciate when fighting zombies!).
10. Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed is a plant with a bad rap. It deserves it, though, as countries around the world spend billions each year to remove this weed from roads, dams, buildings, and basically anything man-made. Yes, this is one strong, stubborn plant! Growing 3 feet a month on top of roots 10 feet under, Japanese Knotweed is here to stay. Thankfully, the weed tastes pretty good. You can boil, steam, or chill the shoots and leaves to eat like asparagus; chop it up for pie filling, jams, sauces, soups; make it into wine; and feed it to your animals. Perhaps this plant makes up for its invasiveness by being so useful.