At Chiswick Woollahra, we are so fortunate to have accessibility to an immense abundance and variety of lush, healthy plants to cook with daily for our guests.
Edible weeds have paved their way through a number of our garden beds, with our Head Horticulturalist, Peter Hatfield, intentionally planting their seeds to produce an assortment of edible plant stock that is delicious, readily available in our garden and surprising to our guests when served. Edible weeds such as shiso, dandelion, chickweed, nasturtiums, nettle, violets and marigold have made the Chiswick garden their home, as they may have in yours too!
Shiso is a vibrant edible weed that was originally used to colour ginger as a garnish and other foods in Japan such as pickling plums. My favourite way of cooking with shiso at the moment is roughly chopping the leaves to garnish tuna tartare, adding a distinct bitterness and cleanliness when the flavours combine.
Dandelions and nettle are wonderful to cook with to create winter cleansing soups. Both edible garden weeds are super high in fibre, vitamins and minerals which means they’re perfect to consume throughout winter. Further, chickweed which is overflowing in our garden at the moment, is incredibly high in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and zinc and is delicious when picked fresh and tossed through salads.
Nasturtiums are one of the most common and tastiest edible annual flowers and leaves that may be growing in your garden. They are packed with flavour and nutrition, being high in vitamins A, C (ten times as much as lettuce) and D. I love to pickle the seeds, which are also known as ‘Poor Man’s Capers’. My favourite way of enjoying them is tossing them through a salad to garnish a beautifully tender steak.
Beautiful edible flowers such as violets and marigold are excellent for decorating desserts and cocktails. Their vibrant colours add visual depth and texture to any dish - which will be sure to impress your guests.
Enjoy finding surprising edible weeds at home to cook with this winter!
You can find this article published in The Wentworth Courier.