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Backyard, sidewalk weeds making it into meals

New diet trend considers eyesore a good ingredient

HOUSTON, Texas – A new diet trend is pulling its ingredient from sidewalks and backyards.  We're talking about weeds. That's right, people are making them a part of their daily diet and some restaurants are including them in their dishes.

"It's growing pretty fast, across the country it's known now," said Nilton Borges Jr,. who's a chef at Uchi restaurant in Houston, Texas.

Borges says it sprouted from the "farm to table" movement, taking the unsightly greens of the earth and making meals out of them. Borges said part of his weekly routine is to pick weeds like dandelions, purslane, Pig's Weed and others from an urban farm in Austin.

However, eating weeds it about as old as food itself.

"Dandelion greens aren't new. Purslane is not new, that's been in the Greek culture, in the Mediterranean culture for years. Bamboo shoots, talk to the Chinese about bamboo shoots," said dietician Sharon Smalling.

But the unconventional way weeds are being used is what's getting attention now.

"I sourced this out of a farm in Austin, an urban farm, and it's literally growing out of a crack in concrete and we snap them out and there you have it," Borges said.

Smalling says although it would take a lot of weeds, it can be a good alternative for people on strict diets.

"Spinach is very high in vitamin K and so we ask Coumadin/Warfarin patients not to eat spinach," she said. "These patients are often on blood thinners and vitamin K interferes with the medication, but if they can have a leafy green like purslane and it's not affecting their levels then that's a positive for them."

Experts warn never to eat something you can't identify.  With that said, we found some online examples of recipes including wild weeds: