“If you can’t beat em’, EAT EM’”, as we always like to say.
Join us as we take a closer look at invasive edible plants that you’re likely to stumble across in Berlin and Brandenburg’s green spaces this spring and summer.
English: Gallant Soldier
Latin: Galinsoga parviflora
Why is it here?
Hailing from Peru, gallant soldier escaped Kew Gardens in London, which is how it found its way into Europe.
And why the bad rep?
As the legend has it, the French brought gallant soldier alias quickweed to Germany during the Napoleonic War, which earned it the name ‘Franzosenkraut’. The invasive plant thrived on German soil and spread like wildfire. In English, the name ‘quickweed’ pays tribute to its ability to self-propagate at great speeds. Many gardeners have condemned it as an ‘eyesore’ but we beg to differ; isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?
So what’s the good news?
Goodbye vitamin supplements, hello gallant soldier. This weed is so jam-packed with nutrients and minerals, it could easily outdo store-bought spinach in any health competition. Iron, calcium, magnesium, zink, vitamin A, vitamin C…you name it, it’s got it!
How about the harvest?
This social and sturdy plant is likely to pop up in your flower pots, garden beds and along the edges of parks from May until November.
Can’t Beat It? EAT it!
The leaves, the flowers, the seeds and the stem are all edible. We love to add it as a salad filler as it’s neutral but rich in iron, magnesium, protein and other nutrients and easy to collect.
Keep away from roadsides and park edges dog walkers frequent. You wouldn’t want to accidentally add drops of Skipper’s wee to your wild salad. Similarly, if the area you’re exploring is prone to frequent traffic, perhaps consider foraging in a slightly less polluted part of town; exhaust fumes from cars linger in the air and find their way into the soil and rest on top of leaves
About Edible Invasive Plants
As foraging and fermentation enthusiasts, one of the best ways to support our environment and sustain ourselves is to harvest and process invasive species. Because conventional gardeners and farmers so easily demonise them, these precious plants are frequently overlooked and undervalued in the culinary world.
“So what makes a pest pesky? And why do we need to weed out all the weeds?” you ask. Our answer, “It’s all about perspective.” This is exactly why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to embrace invasive species for their abundance and celebrate their nutritious value.
Head over to the foraging section on our blog to explore the entire series!
The information provided on our website is meant to support you on your foraging and fermentation journeys. Edible Alchemy does not assume any liability for plants you pick, touch, process or consume.
Be sure only to consume plants if you are 100% certain you are able to identify them correctly and thus rule out the possibility that they are false friends in disguise. Always consider consulting a herbalist or botanist before consuming plants from the wild. If in doubt, always go without!
Extra caution is advised for children, pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and people with pre-existing health conditions or who are taking medication. If you ever experience any allergic or adverse reactions to plants, please consult your physician immediately.