Food & Drink

Edible Weeds: Hairy Bittercress

January 8, 2012

Edible Weeds: Hairy BittercressAs weeds go you can do a lot worse than Hairy Bittercress, which is just as well as it’s currently taking over one of my uncovered vegetable beds (it’s giving my soil protection from the winter weather).

This is an annual to biennial weed – seedlings can withstand the severest frost, making it a very hardy weed. It carries hundreds of explosive seed pods that when ripe, can explode suddenly in all directions up to a metre around you (so weed in glasses!).  The seeds generally germinate between April to December.

Edible Weeds: Hairy BittercressHairy Bittercress is easy to remove from the soil with a hoe or by hand and it’s important to do so as it can quickly smother beds containing your small vegetable seedlings, competing with them for space and light. Once removed the weeds can then be added to the compost heap.

If you don’t mind eating *weeds however, Hairy Bittercress is edible, apparently tasting of watercress. I promise to give it a go when it stops raining ;)… Have you tried eating it?

The following is an audio clip of my tasting session. Apologies for the slight mad excitement of being out in the fresh air again, am new to audio!

Hairy Bittercress – tastes surprisingly good! (mp3)

A weed is just a plant that’s growing somewhere that it’s unwanted.


  • Reply Mr. H. January 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I'll have to watch for this one, it looks somewhat familiar. It's amazing just how nice some of these weeds do taste.

  • Reply Dittander March 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I eat it all the time, just had some in an egg sandwich. It tastes so good it seems a shame to put it on the compost. I wrote about it on my blog

  • Reply Dee Sewell March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    It's a hard habit to break when you've been used to composting it all the time, but I'm looking forward to trying it in an egg sarnie soon Dittander!

  • Reply 16 Natural Alternatives to Using HerbicideGreenside Up November 9, 2015 at 10:59 am

    […] weeds are edible and once you’ve correctly identified them, can be used in the kitchen. Hairy Bittercress and chickweed can be added to salads, as can dandelion leaves or their flowers made into honey. Red […]

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