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A weed a day keeps the Doctor away....

Grassclippings - Eatng WeedsThe picnickers have been watching us for ten minutes now and their curiosity has clearly reached breaking point.  One edges closer. ‘What are you doing?’ he asks.  For a moment, I’m lost for words. What are we doing squelching through sodden grass and scrutinising bushes?

My companion, Gail Harland, reminds me why I’m ruining my white linen trousers on this damp morning. ‘We’re picking weeds,’ she replies.  Ah, yes. ‘Weeds,’ I repeat.  The man nods with a ‘that’s nice’ expression, then retreats — no doubt making ‘they’re bonkers’ gestures to the rest of his party.  Weeding surely calls for trowels and forks. Whereas we’ve got colanders and wicker baskets. You see, we’re here to find dinner. And lunch. And maybe even the odd delicacy, washed down with a bit of cordial.  All from weeds.

Dietician Gail, 48, has been eating the pesky blighters for 20 years. And with the launch of her book The Weeder’s Digest — Identifying And Enjoying Edible Weeds, she’s hoping to convert the nation.

From dandelions to dock-leaves, nettles to yarrow, brooklime to burdock, gardeners are for ever seeking effective ways to banish them.  But Gail is asking us to take a novel approach to these annoying plants, urging: ‘If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em.’

Many weeds are delicious, she enthuses. ‘The intense lemony tanginess of the leaves of sheep’s sorrel is mouth-watering.  ‘The lightly-cooked flower heads of goat’s-beard are delicacies to rival any cultivated asparagus, and the first blackberry crumble of the season is always a family favourite.’

She’s travelled up from her home in Coddenham, Suffolk, to my home in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, to unearth tantalising treasures of the weedy kind.  I expected to be spoilt for choice in our local park, but they’re proving a bit sparse. Apparently, spring is the optimum season for greens, while berries are in abundance in autumn. ‘But let’s see what we find,’ she says. ‘You never know what you’ll come across.’

Get The Weeder’s Digest for £9.95 (instead of £12.95) with free P&P (UK only) at by adding the voucher code WEEDS, or call 0845 458 9910. Valid until August 19.

Read more on The Daily Mail



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