How to eat your Quack-grass (expanded version) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hi, all;

An Edible Quack-grass Primer

Why Quack-grass? Because it's extremely common and few people know it as a wild edible.

I'll try to give you these pretty much straight from the texts. Any omissions (shown by an ellipsis) represent material that I felt was less relevant, but if anyone's interested, let me know. Here and there I've added words or phrases in parentheses for the purpose of clarification or for making the broken text read more smoothly.

Also, see my thread on Quack-grass posted in the prep forum about a month ago for common references (e.g., Rodale) that have good pictures and descriptions, and for an interesting discussion. Maybe someone could even link it up here. But if you want me to give you descriptions, I will be glad to; just ask.

Quack-grass (Agropyron repens):

"...the British botanist, Withering, wrote: 'The roots (actually rhizomes, which are underground horizontal roots) dried and ground for meal, have been used to make bread in years of scarcity.'" (Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America, by Fernald & Kinsey, p. 95)

"The tender new tips of the rhizomes...are edible raw in the spring. The whole rhizome can be dried, ground and sifted to remove the fibers. Cakes and breads have been made with the resulting flour in times of famine (and) the grains are edible." (The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America, by Francois Couplan, Ph.D., p. 465-66)

"...the (rhizomes), sometimes chewed like licorice, can be scorched and used as a coffee substitute (and) seeds...can be used for making breadstuffs. (Caution): Although foragers use the rule of thumb that all grasses are edible, wilted grasses sometimes contain dangerous levels of cyanide, and in wetter climates, tainted grains may cause ergot poisoning." (Handbook of Edible Weeds, by James A. Duke, Ph.D.(botany))

The above three references were all I could find from a search of about 25 books on wild edible plants. If anyone can contribute to this material, I would really welcome it with open arms.

There are claims regarding possible medicinal benefits as well. If you would like details, just ask.

-- eve (, December 14, 1999


Man. Im not sure I can continue to handle this. First we get a post To Dookie From Hookie, now an entire thread devoted to the proper way to eat quack-grass, whatever the hell that is.

Is it 2000 yet?

-- a (a@a.a), December 14, 1999.


Quack-grass is usually seen as a weedy-type of grass that spreads quickly through lawns once it takes hold. It has thin, three-to-six- jointed stems that grow in a clump from the base of the plant. The leaf-blades are usually a bluish-green. Rodale's "Controlling Weeds" has some good photos on page 86; or see Ortho's "All About Lawns", p. 74 for another.

From your post, though, I'm not sure if you were really interested in details, but if you would like more, let me know.

-- eve (, December 14, 1999.


Hey, "a," you're right -- who needs quackgrass anyway?! If Y2K crumbles the infrastructure I'm sure you'll find a way to locate a Safeway, still open, lights on, & full shelves of inventory, including cartons and cartons of flour products. Just don't let anyone else know about your find.


-- William J. Schenker, MD (, December 14, 1999.

Another tidbit that is little known:

You can apparently eat the Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) raw! Here's a direct quote:

"I am probably the only forager you'll read about who has eaten the stinging nettles raw, although most foragers have enjoyed them cooked. (Julie Summers may have reported a raw nettle repast somewhere in the pages of COLTSFOOT.) The raw nettles quit stinging by the time they get to the throat, at least in my trials."

(Handbook of Edible Weeds, by James A. Duke, Ph.D.(botany), p. 204)

-- eve (, December 15, 1999.

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