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goutweed, aegopodium, as a salad??

 
Brenda Groth
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I have a lot of information on edible wild things and cultivated, and i never heard this before but in a book i was reading yesterday that I haven't reread in years, i ran across that in europe that they used to plant goutweed, aegopodium for salads.

That is all it said..didn't say if it was good in salads..or if it was wise that they planted it or anything like that..or even if it was really edible.

Aegopodium is a favorite plant of mine for groundcovers..in the shade..here in Michigan..it grows like wildfire...esp in heavy maple leaf mulch..soooooooooooo if it is edible I would sure like to know? (as I have tons of it) I could survive on my goutweed alone for months if it is good to eat !!

anyone know?
 
Brenda Groth
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I did find this info on it but it doesn't really say if it is a good salad food or if it should be cooked or whatever..

says it is like spinach..I'll be trying it this spring.

Ground-elder
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Ground-elder


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Apiales

Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Aegopodium

Species: A. podagraria


Binomial name
Aegopodium podagraria
L.
The ground-elder is in the carrot family (Apiaceae) that grows in shady places. It is sometimes also cited as "ground elder", though this format invites confusion by suggesting it is a species of elder (Sambucus), an unrelated genus. It is also known as herb gerard, bishop's weed, goutweed, and snow-in-the-mountain. It is the type species of the genus Aegopodium.

The tender leaves have been used as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used. It has also been used to treat gout and arthritis. The plant is said to have been introduced into England by the Romans and into Northern Europe by monks.

In some areas, this plant is considered among the worst of weeds, as it readily spreads over large areas of ground by underground rhizomes. It is extremely invasive, and crowds out native species. The smallest piece of rhizome left in the ground will quickly form a sturdy new plant, followed by many more.

If a small plant finds its way into an ornamental perennial flower garden it will spread with vigor, resist all attempts at eradication, and make continued ornamental gardening there very difficult.

A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant, though with the advice to keep it isolated. It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera including dot moth, grey dagger and grey pug.





[edit] Images
Variegated ground-elder in flower
Ground-elder on the wayside
A single umbel
 
 
              
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always check out pfaf.org too, they have most edible plants in it.
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aegopodium+podagraria
 
Brenda Groth
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wow thanks I'll go there now..i know that half of my garden plants generally considered non edible are edible..so we won't ever starve  if we can get to them (winter is touch and go though) but i've never seen that site..always looking for more info.
 
Brenda Groth
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hmmm the site says
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 4, 5, 12, 54, 100]. An unusual tangy flavour[183], the majority of people we give it to do not like it[K] although some reports say that it makes a delicious vegetable[244]. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower, they can be used in salads, soups, or cooked as a vegetable[9].

so I'm not sure if i'm in the majority or not..but hey I'll give it a try.
 
Susan Monroe
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Please read the info on medicinal uses at the Plants for a Future database above.  All parts act as a diuretic, so if you are on any meds (esp a commercial diuretic like Lasix, etc), you MUST talk to your doctor first. 

It's also a sedative, so the amount  you eat at a time may be important, esp if it might affect driving or your golf game.

PFAF also says it is 'vulnerary', which is a fancy (and probably outdated) word that means it is used as a topical poultice for healing wounds, fresh cuts, etc.

Maybe you can use it when your husband hits his head... 

Sue
 
Brenda Groth
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thanks for the advice Susan (esp about Ron's head !) sounds like a good spring TONIC to clean out the old pipes ?? Maybe I should fix Ron a salad daily..he has problems sleeping...just kidding.

I'll still plan on trying it and finding out how it tastes..a lot of greens have that same effect ..guess that is why they are called spring tonics...the kind I have is the variegated and it is soooooooooo pretty..the flowers look kinda like queen annes lace..
 
Matt Ferrall
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Ive eaten this plant for several years.The young new growth is the best as it get leathery and tastless fairly quickly.As with all perennials young growth can be maintained by chopping back the old stuff.One word of warning is that this plant is EXTREMELY invasive.Top 10 most agressive plants in my garden.I really dont like to plant it,as the runners stpread a couple of feet in all directions every year and good luck getting it out.But I do think that there are proper uses.I use it when buttercups are already taking over.Then I move in and one up em with this more aggressive plant.As it gets older its still good as a soup plant though.One thought Ive had is to dry the new growth for use in the winter.
  Anyway,as far as perennial edibles goes,its definitely in the top 40 and should definitely be a part of some forest gardens.I say "some" because I cant recommend it for small yards.Best planted between the house and a sidewalk or somewhare else thats confined.You Have Been Warned!!!As for cautions,this plant has been used for thousands of years as food by humans and livestock so although it has effects,probably more good would come from eating it then bad so give it a try!
 
Brenda Groth
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Thanks Mt. Goat for the information, as for the invasivness, I have had this growing here for 38 years so I am aware of that, but I have never known that it was edible until this winter. I have loads of books and info on edible wild plants, and semi domesticated ones..but this one was not listed in any of them, just managed to run across in a totally off the wall book, that it had been used as food in olden days..and thought, hmmm ..that I'd check it out.
So do you LIKE the flavor of it and does it cause any ill effects as discussed above? I do plan totally on trying it as soon as i can get to it (3' of snow right now)..I'm always looking for a new spring green to get into my tummy.
I really don'thave a serious problem with invasiveness here..as i have 5 acres of garden, and I tend to put it in in areas where other things really don't want to grow, like under the deep shade of my evergreens on the sunless sides of them, in the fall i rake all my excess leaves in those areas under those trees or in beds nearby, and the aegopodium LOVES a thick mulch of leaves..and grows about 2 1/2 feet tall at full height in those conditions here in Zone 4 Michigan. I have some areas of woods that I'm going to be working on developing into a more diversified system this year, and I may put some in that system as well if I find that it is a good crop..doesn't seem to be bothered by rabbits or deer, as we have deer that live in our yard within 50 ' of our house, i have photos of then on my blog. And rabbits are fertilizing everything here..that they don't eat down to the ground..yes i use a lot of chicken wire to protect things i want to save..but they generally get enough food that they leave plenty for us.
I don't know if photos can be posted on here or not, as i'm new here, but the aegopodium is one of the prettiest darn plants i've ever encountered, I have several hundred square feet of it growing just in my front yard alone..so if it is edible..i'm very fortunate...and will try it as soon as i can.
 
Matt Ferrall
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I wont pontificate on its flavor because that is so subjective.I like it during the brief window its edible and I dont really like the variagated one.
 
Leah Sattler
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ronbre wrote:

I don't know if photos can be posted on here or not,


the easiest way for me to post photos is to use a photobucket account. upload your pictures, check mark them, and click "generate html and img code". copy and paste the image code for message boards into your post. if you want to view it before you post it then preview your post and the actual pic will come up.
 
paul wheaton
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Uploading photos:

When you typing in a messge, you see "additional options" just below the edit box.  If you click on that, it has stuff for uploading images directly.  Although there are some limitations. 
 
Jessica Robertson
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Just came across this recipe for goutweed soup. Looks tasty, I just found out it was edible a few minutes ago, so can't comment on the flavour yet.
http://tofufortwo.net/2008/05/21/goutweed-soup/

It is just starting to creep into one of my beds from under the neighbours fence, but I'm not going to get too worried about it knowing it's edible. I also read something about an 18 in tap root so that's got to be doing some good down there too.

 
Brenda Groth
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i tasted some this last week and it was a bit strong in flavor, but I think I could eat it if I had to, haven't tasted it in it's baby stage though (keep forgetting to try it before it gets big)
 
                                      
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i dont particularly like the taste.

mixed in with other greens its ok in a salad, but i dont use it as main ingredient fresh.
cooked its fine for soups. Also its strong taste is perfect for making 'pesto'. a free pesto plant!

i would never cultivate it, but its nice when invasive wild plants can be put to good use, it makes the act of controlling it feel less purposeless.
 
Lou Schultz
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I was going to start a new thread to sing the praises of ground elder, but I found this old thread worth reviving. So here it goes:

1) Goutweed/ground elder is a carefree perennial food plant that will grow where few others will; in my case, heavy clay and shade.
2) It is available early in the spring, when little else is growing. Throughout Central and Eastern Europe there are different versions of 'spring soup' that make use of it, in combination with other early greens like nettles, dandelions, and sorrel.
3)According to Stephen Barstow, ground elder has been lactofermented in Siberia. I have not tried this yet myself, but having any perennial food that could last through the winter (in a temperate zone) is a good thing.
4) It is a good source of Vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

Yes, it can be aggressive in the garden, especially in bright or part shade. In my experience it is more restrained in deep shade, and also suffers predation from rabbits and voles. I see it often (the species, not the variegated type) around old farmhouses - likely they knew its usefulness a hundred years ago - but it hasn't overrun local forests. The 'invasive' hysteria surrounding it seems a bit over the top to me.

Here is 'Wildman' Steve Brill talking about it. Sorry for the ugly link, but every time I tried to insert the video, my browser crashed.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ULlxxkZslwo
 
Burra Maluca
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Thanks for sharing that. I've beaten the embed-link into submission for you.

 
casey lem
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FANTASTIC! We have this along edges of our property. Giving up on eradicating it, it is now used as "living mulch" under apples along w/ egyptian onions thrown in the mix. Now I can eat all three! Yippee! Hmmm, sedative properties too? Has anyone tried throwing this in a mead or wine? Maybe a question for another thread.
 
Lou Schultz
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Thanks for sharing that. I've beaten the embed-link into submission for you.


Thanks!
 
Steven Kovacs
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Does anyone have recommendations on how to eradicate this stuff? Our small city lot has a bunch of it under the overhanging canopies of the neighbors' maple trees, and it is trying to colonize more of the yard. Will sheet mulching kill the rhizome?
 
Kai Duby
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About 20 years ago my grandmother moved away and we transplanted many of her plants to our yard. She called one of them "snow on the mountain" and that's what I've called it from the age of 5....until this year.

It turns out that the "snow on the mountain" is actually a variegated ornamental variety of goutweed, bishops weed, Aegopodium podagaria etc. It's also edible like the rest.

I am hear to attest that it is DELICIOUS! Tastes just like parsley! I have coerced others into trying it and everyone has agreed that it certainly has a parley-like taste although the texture is a little more tough and it sometimes squeaks between your teeth. It's one of my favorite things to eat out of my yard.

As far as cooking goes I have added it to potato soups although it doesn't seem to give up that parsley flavor all too readily. I've also chopped it up and added it to vegetable bouillon, which gives it a little thickness and a bit of parsley flavor. It works well as a finely minced garnish too.

Obviously I've eaten a fair bit of it both raw and cooked but I have never noticed any ill effects or felt sedated. Maybe I should eat more! (Or go a little easier on it until I've experimented a little.)

I cannot remember how big it was when we transplanted it but after 20+ years it has only grown to cover about 10 square feet. However, I live in a relatively dry climate, the plant is in shade, and the ornamental varieties are apparently less invasive. I would wager to say that it has never reseeded itself because there are no new bunches anywhere in the yard. The plant just spreads out steadily.
 
Carl Trotz
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I found this old thread and thought I'd post a link here to some interesting aegopodium recipes, including ground elder quiche and ground elder & chicken patties. Overall I think it's a useful plant to have around, at least in a shady spot where you're not trying to grow something less aggressive.

ground elder recipes
 
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