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Unusual Snacks – Eating Water Hyacinth


IN NATURAL waterways thrives an invasive plant most people want to eradicate. It is considered a pest because it forms thick green mats, infesting rivers and depleting the water’s supply of oxygen to fish.

The plant I am talking about is the water hyacinth, a popular gift when it was first brought to the US in the 1980s. Nowadays, however, these tropical fauna are used for making fertiliser, methane and perhaps more usually they can be eaten.

Below is a guide on how to tuck into this extraordinary food –

  • You can eat the young leaves, stems and bottom
  • Deep fry the bulbs (they go a bit like port rinds)
  • The blossoms can be boiled – as can the leaves

A word of warning…Be careful where you pick these plants. Do not pick them downstream from a mine as they can be used to clean the water, because they absorb heavy metals and toxins. What’s more, if you don’t cook it properly, it can make you itch.

You might be surprised to hear that these plants have quite a lot of nutritional value. They are made up of 17% fibre, 36% carbohydrate, 18% protein and the leaves contain Vitamins A, B1 and B2.

A good place to find the water hyacinth (if you live in a rural area) is around marshes and water. Luckily the plant grows all year round. But because it is so prolific some places have outlawed its transport which means you might get arrested for taking some home to eat…be careful!

REMEMBER: Never eat any wild plants without checking with local experts.

Video By Eattheweeds

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