Perennial Plate Video: Finding a Meal in the Crack of a Sidewalk

I was in New York last week and saw something peculiar at one of the farmers markets: lambs quarters and nettles selling for several dollars a pound. I guess it's understandable considering those weeds probably aren't thriving between sidewalk cracks in New York; but in Minneapolis, it's another story. Here, these delectables are growing in great abundance just outside your front door.

I recently took a walk near Lake Nokomis with herbalist Lise Wolff and she pointed out a dozen different wild edibles while meandering along the path. Many are as delicious as any green you can buy at the grocery store.

Warning: You do have to be careful when you are eating from the wild. Toxic plants can look similar to delicious plants. Take milkweed for example.This delicious-when-cooked green can be poisonous if consumed raw and has a very poisonous relative -- dogbane. Thankfully, dogban is bitter and tastes disgusting, so it would be hard to poison yourself. Nonetheless, it's important to differentiate the good from the bad. So get a good book (I recommend The Forager's Harvest by Samuel Thayer), and go out and try some weeds. Or better yet, watch the video, below, and try the plants featured within. The recipe for the nettle and daylily ravioli is also available on my website.


Many of these delicious wild edibles are growing right in your backyard. It's an incredible feeling to go outside, pick something that is growing all around, and make a delicious meal out of it. Foraging is all about freedom, self sufficiency, and fun; it's a joy to use a little bit of knowledge to create something you can't buy in the store, but tastes as good, and is often more nutritious.

Daniel Klein
is the director and producer of The Perennial Plate, a weekly online documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating. The episodes follow his culinary, agricultural and hunting explorations throughout a year in Minnesota. Prior to The Perennial Plate, Daniel Klein produced/directed the film "What are we doing here?" and spent a number of years cooking in some of the world's top restaurants.