You Can Eat That? 6 Edible Wild Plants Growing in Texas
The laws in Texas might change very soon when it comes to a certain edible plant, and I do mean marijuana. But right now there are six wild edible plants in Texas that are growing free, and you can eat them and enjoy them without thinking you’re going to die. Isn’t that fun?
How many plants are growing in your yard right now that you could eat? Of course, you don't want to just plop anything on your plate. That's a good way to get a trip to the hospital or worse. Mark Vorderbruggen, the founder of the website Foraging Texas, offers hands-on foraging classes (which Cheatham likes to call a “speedy weed feed”), and these are the best way to get started. He recommends going with someone who has experience in edible plants (no, not THAT one!) or joining a class to learn how to identify safe ones.
With those words of warning in mind, here's a short list of Texas plants that you can add to your menu.
How to eat it: Blend into a pesto or add to smoothies
The plant usually pops up in late winter and early spring and is like spinach. If you add it to a smoothie, it will make it slightly creamy. The Central Texas Gardener site recommends using it in a pesto recipe.
2) Chile pequin
Range: Central and South Texas
How to eat it: In a salsa or jelly
This is the official (and only) native state pepper in Texas. It grows well in both sun and shade. Most of the hot peppers sold in grocery stores are in the same family as the chile pequin, including jalapeño. You might have one in your yard right now.
Range: Central, East, and North Texas
How to eat it: Fresh off the vine, baked in a pie or cooked in a jam
It looks just like a blackberry because, under a microscope, it's the same thing. The wild dewberry shrubs grow everywhere in Texas, including by the side of the road. Watch out for thorns if you pick them!
Range: Central and West Texas
How to eat it: Brewed in tea, or boiled down into a candy
Horehound is a member of the mint family and a great natural remedy for a sore throat or cough. You can brew the leaves to make tea with a flavor described as a cross between root beer and licorice.
Range: Statewide, especially in South Texas
How to eat it: Fresh, in preserves, or as a liqueur
Loquats handle cold easily and grow throughout Texas in late spring and early summer. They taste similar to an apricot, and loquat liqueur has an amaretto flavor.
6) Yaupon holly
Range: East and Central Texas
How to eat it: Brewed in a tea
Yaupon can be made into a drink like green or black tea. During World War II rationing, the government promoted it as a substitute for coffee and tea. Yaupon holly grows best in sandy soil.
10 Easy Things to Grow In Your Texas Garden
Top 20 Restaurants Central Texans Wish Would Come to Temple