Lamb's Quarters - Don't Throw Away this Edible Weed!
Lamb's Quarters - My Story
My First Taste
Lamb's Quarters, or Chenopdium album, is one of the first edible weeds that I learned how to identify and it was almost by accident. My father is an avid gardener and he is diligent about weeding and caring for his plants. Most of us weed out the "unwanted" plants, and my father is no different.
One day, I was standing in the yard while my father was tending to his garden. My grandmother (Yiayia) came to him and started sorting through the pile of discarded plants.
"Why are you throwing these away?" She asked, pointing to a large plant with leaves shooting out from the stem. "They're delicious!" Sure enough, they made it in the salad that night and I was hooked.
Do you know what it looks like?
Do you have this plant lying around your garden? If so, and if you absolutely must yank it, save the leaves and eat them!
I understand this to be a highly nutritive plant. The video I shared with you on this page says it is a good source of calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and also has some Iron and Phosphorous. It tastes very much like spinach and can be used the same way in recipes or in salads. I included more information about how I use Lamb's Quarters at the end of this page.
By the way, I also included a video that I think is very good. It lists the nutrition information and shows exactly what the plant looks like. However, he said it was "bland tasting". I disagree, I think it's yummy. :-)
How to Identify Lamb's Quarters
I believe that the best way to identify a wild plant you aren't familiar with is to have someone show you. However, it isn't always easy to find someone who knows how to do it - it's kind of a lost art.
- Find photos online. Google and Bing both have images that get pulled up in their searches. Use "Lamb's Quarters" or "Chenopodium album" for the keyword and see which photos you can come up with.
- A good field guide. You should have at least one field guide of your region lying around the house. Look up the plant and read the description so that you can be sure you have the right one. I included my favorite identification books as Amazon links in the next section of this hub.
- Weed walks. Check with your local health food store, newspaper, or even the library to see if there are any weed walk events. Or, ask around. There may be people in your life who know how to identify plants and are willing to show you what Lamb's Quarters looks like.
Very Good Video on Identifying Lamb's Quarters
Using Lamb's Quarters (Wild Spinach)
I use lamb's quarters mainly as a salad green or as a replacement for spinach in recipes. Here are some ideas:
- Greek spinach pie (Spanakopita). Last year, I pulled so many lamb's quarters up from my overgrown garden, I was able to make a batch of spanakopita with it.
- Spanakorizo - Spinach and Rice. Actually, I even had some leftover after I made the Spanakopita that I was able to make a big batch of this Spinach and rice, too.
- Salads. The easiest way to use it by far is to make a salad out of it. It is really good mixed with a little chickweed.
- Freshly picked! If I see lamb's quarters growing somewhere that isn't close to a road or near where people use chemicals I pick them and eat them! It's so delicious right off the plant.
To be honest, I also enjoy munching on the plant freshly picked, as I am walking. To me, that is the joy of weed-walking ... eating what you find when you find it.