Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN

Nutsedge: The Edible Garden Foe

2/23/2011 11:46:47 AM

Tags: Garden Weeds, Nutsedge

HorchataNutsedge has gotten a bad rap, but for good reason. This pesky weed has been known to infest gardens, spreading thousands of nutlets underground and reproducing at an alarming rate (see our readers’ nutsedge woes). While this rather invasive plant has caused many a groan from gardeners, it has one redeeming quality: nutsedge is edible.

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus), sometimes called Earth almond or Chufa, has tuberous roots that can be eaten raw or cooked. Their sweet, nutty flavor makes them ideal for a multitude of recipes, from soups to sweets. According to Cornucopia II: A Sourcebook of Edible Plants, yellow nutsedge was used to add sweetness to ancient Egyptian barley juice, and in Spain, the tubers are added to horchata de chufa (see photo), a beverage “prepared by mixing the ground tubers with water, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and ice.”

Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) also has edible roots. Freshly-dug purple nutsedge has a strong menthol flavor that Cornucopia II compares to Vicks VapoRub, so, while the raw tubers can be eaten immediately, they’re best after drying. Like the yellow variety, purple nutsedge can be eaten boiled or roasted.

William Woys Weaver even suggests growing your own nutsedge for food in his book, “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening.” Praising the tubers’ similarities to other nuts, he says, “In texture, [nutsedge] is somewhat mealy like a chestnut, yet with a distinct almondlike flavor. It was used by country people as an almond substitute in cookies and confectionery, and was even pounded with sugar to make a type of faux marzipan once quite popular among the Pennsylvania Germans.”

If you’ve got a nutsedge invasion on your hands, it may be hard to see the situation as anything other than aggravating. The April/May 2011 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS will contain some great tips on how to kick the weeds for good. Until then, don’t hesitate to turn a somber situation into a delicious one.


Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .

Photo by fotolia/AgathaLemon 



Related Content

Gourmet Garlic: Purple Stripes

Ever wondered what ancient garlic tasted like? Try a Purple Stripe cultivar!

Purple Hull Peas?

So, what are Purple Hull Peas? They are a green shelled pea that cooks into a creamy, yummy delight...

Solarize Soil to Control Nutsedge in Your Garden

To eliminate nutsedge from your garden, follow these steps to solarize your soil. 

Weed Watch: How to Kill Nutsedge

Learn how to kill nutsedge, both yellow (Cyperus esculentus) and purple (Cyperus rotundus), and remo...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.