Edible Plants? AKa Underutilized crops Answered
So.. I like to read the Wikipedia.
I don't know why.
However, the other day I found a little blurb interesting.
I was reading about alternative crops when I realized I was very familiar with a few of the plants on the list. I do a fair amount of Gardening here in Northern Utah, so I was somewhat surprised to find that one of the weeds which I've been pulling for 90% of my gardening experience is actually an extremely nutrious food crop.
So this got me wondering, what other alternative food crops were out there.
I tore through the wikipedia's list of underutilized crops, and was surprised by the number of plants that just aren't used.
In many cases, I can't see a reason why such a crop isn't being used. Especially in areas where cultivation of said plant would encourage use of land that's not otherwise arable.
As a for instance, I live very near the Great Salt Lake. The flood plain of the great salt lake is salt killed, however, There is a small plant that grows on the flood plain. I was told that it was edible, but it wasn't usually eaten due to both the texture and the flavour. So, I was surprised when I noticed it's scientific name on the underutilized crop list. Turns out it's a good oil seed crop, and oil is one of those things we need.
The other thing I noticed is that alot of the crops were indigenious, rather then more commonly used cultivars. Indigenous crops that have evolved to survive in specific locations are, in many cases, better suited to survive in local areas then food crops developed through artificial selection. Utilizing indigenious plants helps mitigate the impact of agricultural activity on the environment (which is arguably more destructive then any other industrial activity), and helps to reduce pests of popular cultivars.
So with that all said, I'm interested to see what other people have donee along this line of thinking. I've noticed an instructable or two that have done just this. I'm probably put one up at the end of this year.
Mine will be focusing on Common Pigweed and White Goosefoot (scientific names are in the links to the wikipedia at the bottom).