Can I eat red clover? Red clover is native to Europe, Western Asia, as well as Northwest Africa. However, now it grows in just about every country and state in the world. It has been used for thousands of years for food and medicine.
What is Red Clover?
When you think of clover, you are probably thinking about the luck of the Irish and those green 3 and 4-leaf clovers. Well, today we aren’t going to be talking about getting lucky.
Instead, we are talking about red clover. Red clover is a very distinct reddish/purplish flower.
The flower head is made up of numerous tubular-shaped flowers. The leaves are green with a white or pale green chevron on the upper side.
How to Identify Red Clover
It is very important that you are picking red clover and not some other kind of flower. The white or pale green chevron on the leaf is what identifies this plant as the red clover. However, if you really want to see exactly what it looks like before you pick it, check out this YouTube Video.
Can I Eat Red Clover?
Although most people may find the red clover to be a pretty weed, it actually has many uses for human consumption. Not only can it be eaten raw, but it can also be cooked up into a variety of dishes. So, the short answer is YES, you can eat red clover.
Do They Taste Good
If you like beans, you won’t mind eating the leaves. The leaves have a faint bean-like flavor and are typically used in teas, soups, stews, or tossed on salads.
But, the preferred part of the red clover is the flower itself. The flower is one of the tastiest of any clover you could ever eat. But, you don’t have to take my word for it, try it yourself.
Health Benefits of the Red Clover
Clover is an incredible plant that is rich in vitamins and other nutrients. In fact, you wouldn’t know this commonly known weed would have so many health benefits.
Red clover is rich in a variety of vitamins including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
In addition to being packed with vitamins, red clover is jam packed with minerals our bodies need. Here is what you can find in red clover:
In addition to these vitamins and minerals that are body needs, red clover is an incredible source of protein, fat, and dietary fiber. These benefits can have huge positive effects on the body, including:
#1 Maintaining Estrogen
Red clover is an amazing source of isoflavones. These isoflavones are rich in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogen in the body.
#2 Prevents Growth of Cancer Cells
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, red clover helps prevent the growth of certain cancer cells.
This is because red clover contains four phytoestrogens: biochanin-A, formononetin, daidzein, and genistein. All of these help to prevent the growth of cancerous tumors.
#3 Reduces Risk of Heart Attack
Because red clover contains tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E, there have been some studies that show red clover is linked to a reduction in heart attacks.
Not to mention they have strong antioxidant properties that help to reduce bad levels of cholesterol and reduce plaque that causes heart disease.
What Clover Should I Pick?
The great thing about red clover is that you can find them just about anywhere. And, you can’t really mix them up with another plant. However, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind when picking them.
- DO NOT pick a red clover that is close to the road. They can pick up pollution from the vehicles driving by.
- NEVER pick a red clover from an industrial lot or any space where there could have been past pollution.
- DO NOT pick red clover from a yard where chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers, have been used.
How to Harvest Clover
Red clover is pretty easy to harvest. Simply pick it just as you would any flower.
The best time to pick the flower is in the spring and summer. This gives you a much sweeter flavor. If you want to harvest in the fall, keep in mind that the blossoms will not be as sweet.
In addition to picking in the right season, you want to pick your clover at the right time of the day. Just like herbs, red clover blossoms early in the day when the dew has dried. Be sure to pick them bright and early right after the dew has dried.
You want to avoid picking brown flowers. You want the blossoms to be fully open and brightly colored.
How to Eat Clover
Most people use clovers to make tea. However, they are also used in salads. If you want to cook them, you will use them as an added ingredient to things like soups, stews, and meats.
If you want to enjoy the amazing health benefits of red clover, here are some fabulous recipes that use red clover:
How to Store Clover
Just like you would with produce, eating them fresh is best. However, there is a pretty simple way you can store red clover leaves and flowers throughout the winter months.
- Harvest the leaf and flower separately.
- Wash the flower, stems and leaves to get rid of dirt and bugs.
- Dry them on a homemade screen in a dry room. If you have one, they can be dried in a dehydrator. Additionally, you can dry them at low temperatures in the oven.
- Store your dried clover in mason jars.
That’s it! Dry them and store them in sealed mason jars. Enjoy them throughout the winter months.
Can I Eat Red Clover If I am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not advisable to eat or take red clover. This is because of the natural phytoestrogens that are found in the plant.
In addition to pregnant and breastfeeding women, hemophiliacs and people on blood thinners should avoid eating them as well. This is because red clover does have blood thinning properties.
Can I Eat Red Clover?: Other Weeds You Can Eat
Along with red clover, there are a variety of other weeds that are actually edible. Check them out, below!
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, purslane can be found in moist garden beds, lawns, and shady areas. It is a succulent whose leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked to add flavor to foods.
If you haven’t checked out my post “Can I eat Dandelions,” you should! It tells you everything you need to know from health benefits to harvesting and cooking this plant.
#3 Lambs Quarters
Lamb’s Quarters is also known as Goosefoot. It can be eaten raw in any veggie dish or salad. Additionally, it can be sauteed or steamed and used in any recipe that calls for spinach.
The seeds of this plant look like quinoa and can be harvested and eaten as well.
Here is the most common Plantain (Major) you will see:
or Plantago Lancealota (pictured below)
Not to be confused with the tropical fruit, this plantain is actually a green leafy weed that is edible. It can be used topically to soothe burns, stings, rashes, and wounds, as well as being eaten.
The leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, or sauteed. The seeds of plantain can be cooked like a grain or ground into a four.
This garden weed can be harvested for both food and medicine. The chickweed leaves, stems, and flowers are eaten both raw or cooked. It can be eaten much like you would eat spinach.
Mallow or Malva is also known as cheeseweed because it is shaped like seed pods. It is found in lawns or garden beds throughout the United States. The leaves as well as the seed pods are edible raw or cooked.
#7 Wild Amaranth
Wild amaranth is also known as pigweed. It is another great addition to dishes that require leafy greens. The younger plants are typically softer and tastier than the older leaves. However, older leaves can be cooked like spinach.
#8 Curly Dock
Curly dock is also called yellow dock. The leaves can be eaten raw when they are young, but need to be cooked when they are older. The stems can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked.
Additionally, the seeds can be boiled, eaten raw, or roasted into coffee. It’s recommended to only eat these in moderation.
Final Thoughts: Can I Eat Clover?
As we continue to see store shelves become bare and the produce section empty, there are many ways we can find food without having a green thumb.
Keep a lookout for edible weeds. Know how to harvest them, how to store them, and how to cook them. You never know when you will need to use what you have. Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Red Clover Deposit photos_25633895_s-2019, Curly Dock Deposit photos_256444932_s-2019.jpg, Dandelions Depositphotos_3204320_s-2019.jpg, Purslane Depositphotos_120270688_s-2019, Lambs Quarters Chenopodium Lamb AdobeStock_118372450 by Fedsax,
Chickweeds Depositphotos_251949780_s-2019, Plantain Weeds Depositphotos_75195335_s-2019, Mallow:Cheeseplants Depositphotos_357002414_s-2019, Amaranth Depositphotos_325233460_s-2019, Red Clover Depositphotos_28589255_s-2019, Plantago Major Depositphotos_301462088_s-2019