PlantFiles: Lamb's-Quarters, White Goosefoot, Fat Hen, Wild Spinach Chenopodium album
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On May 12, 2012, Sonnenblume from Aurora, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
I had read before how nutritious it was supposed to be so I ate probably quite a bit last year while letting it grow for a while but I felt ill in my stomach repeatedly directly related to eating this particular edible weed (dandelion and purslane I do not get any negative reactions from) so I am very cautious eating more than a few small leaves... I have to admit it tastes pleasant to neutral when small and fresh but not as good as spinach to me, while now I am pulling lamb's quarters again, its one of the common weeds in my garden popping up in unwanted places but its not annoying just present I am just cautioned by an ill feeling in my gut if I eat too much Lamb's Quarters, I would be curious as to which ingredient causes this as I am not allergic to spinach..it has to be something else unique to this plant and i don't use pesticides in my backyard.
On Jun 27, 2011, btoadflax from Wheaton, IL wrote:
A first class edible green raw, steamed for a minute, or sautéed in a simple water and flour recipe with optional spices. If you like spinach, especially as a pot herb, you may eat it faster than any weed. Ranks with purslane as plant most likely to be better than what you break your back trying to grow.
The leaves of lamb's quarter are edible, delicious and more nutritious than spinach actually. It is the seeds that are toxic/poisonous. it is not much different than spinach and in fact was introduced to the US as a leafy vegetable.
If you like spinach then you will love lamb's quarter. There are many "weeds" that we ignore and abhor that are actually very nutritious for us.
One of my favorites is blue mustard, sometimes called wild radish. This plant is delicious and also a "noxious weed" to those uneducated educated folks out there.
I have eaten lots of both plants with no ill effect whatsoever.
On Apr 26, 2010, otter47 from Livermore, CA wrote:
When I was a student at Ohio State University, we had community gardens. In early April, we would be out planting our first seeds, pulling weeds, and hauling water. The plot next to mine lay unattended during the spring. By June it was a thicket of weeds, primarily lamb's quarters, which by then were 4 feet tall. Finally those of us who had so carefully nurtured and cultivated our plots were able to harvest the first peas, spinach, and radishes. One day, the woman student appeared with a hoe and took out some of her lamb's quarters, which nature had planted and watered for her. We called her the Lamb's Quarter Lady - so much harvest for so little effort. She told us how delicious they were as greens. Every couple of weeks afterward, she returned to her plot for a new harvest.
Now I live in California where lamb's quarter grows but not as prolifically as in Ohio. However, when it appears as a "weed" in my cultivated garden, along with the occasional dandelion, miner's lettuce, sow thistle, wild radish, or chickweed, I offer it to my pet rabbit who delights in his fresh locally-grown salad.
On Jul 6, 2009, skiekitty from Parker, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
This thing takes over my yard every year.. I'm not a big veggie eater (sorry, more carnivorous than herbavorus) so I'm not going to be eating them. Death to them all! (on a different note, to the person who stated that it's poisonous to cattle,sheep,horses, etc - so isn't avocados & chocolate. Doesn't mean I'm gonna stop eating those!)
On Jun 18, 2008, Sherlock_Holmes from Millersburg, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
Many people find this edible wild plant to be an annoying weed. But that's to be expected from people who are not interested in edible wild plants. For those that prefer to grow wildflowers and edible wild plants, it’s very welcome in the garden.
"Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide" by Elias and Dykeman has this to say about Lamb's-Quarters:
"Harvest: Pick young leafy stems to 25 cm (10 in) tall or tender growing tips of older plants. Gather abundant seeds in autumn by rubbing fruiting spikes into paper bag and winnow away chaff.
Preparation: A superlative green vegetable, lacking strong flavor and high in Vitamins A and C. Use leafy stems alone in salad or mix with stronger greens. For potherb, use large quantity of greens because cooking greatly diminishes bulk. Boil young leafy stems in small quantity of water about 5 minutes until tender. Add butter, salt, and pepper or sauce of 1/4 cup diced onion, 4 slices of crisp bacon chopped fine, 1/4 cup vinegar, salt, and pepper, simmered gently. Use same sauce on raw greens as salad dressing. Soften seeds by boiling, crush, grind in food mill or blender. This produces nutritious black flour, good mixed with wheat flour for pancakes and muffins.
Poisonous look-alikes: Species of Chenopodium that have bad odor and taste can be somewhat toxic."
"Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America" by Fernald & Kinsey says:
"The common Pigweed, so familiar in rich garden soil, in barnyards, and similar habitats, has always been a popular potherb; under the more appetizing name, Lamb's-Quarters, highly prized by European peoples.
In spite of a spendthrift American prejudice against it because it is so common, the Pigweed, which annually appears in all good garden soils, is really one of the most valuable, though promptly destroyed crops of the garden before the planted vegetables are in season. Cooked and eaten like spinach, the tender shoots and leaves are often called delicious, and nearly everyone who tries it, unprejudiced by the knowledge that it is an every-day weed, is enthusiastic...
...In cooking, Pigweed reduces considerably in bulk and it is necessary to gather two or three times the bulk that is wanted when cooked. The fresh leaves readily shed water but, as soon as steamed, lose this peculiarity. The boiled Pigweed is a comparatively dry potherb and it is particularly good if mixed with Dock-greens which are unusually wet or mucilaginous.
The seeds of Pigweeds can be gathered in great quantities and they were largely used by the American Indians as a source of bread or in gruel. They are very hard and slippery, inclined to jump and bounce while being ground; and, although they may be ground dry, we have found it advantageous to boil them for a couple of hours, then to mash, and then dry the mass before grinding. The flour and bread are very dark-colored on account of the black seed-coats but of good flavor and highly nutritious, tasting somewhat like buckwheat but with the characteristic "mousey" flavor distinctive of this group of plants."
On Feb 23, 2007, IndoorGardner from Falls Church, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
II just found out that this is what was growing between one of my other plants indoors. My friend gave me seeds from the dollar store. I was surprised when they germinated. Now I have this 3 foot little "herb weed". I potted her separately so she would not bother the other plants. She is raised organically so I gave her leaves a try. Yep .. they are good. I was a little nervous at first but after that I kept popping them. Poor thing, it was a happy growing plant now I am looking at like food. It probably wants to run now :) And in case you are wondering, yes like my profile says I grow everything indoors. She is indoors. Matter of fact in my office window. She is healthy and very happy. At least until I finish eating her up.
On May 4, 2006, Mitternacht from Chester United Kingdom wrote:
Poisonous? Yeah, right...
*QUOTED* Edibility and Preparation : An excellent pot herb. Stems and leaves can be cooked like spinach or used in salads when young and tender. When freezing for storage blanch first. The small dark seeds can be ground an dused for flour. Harvest them by rubbing a husk between your hand. This seperates the chaff, then winnow.
On Mar 4, 2006, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:
Supporting 'woolylam,' I first read about this in a book on wild edibles. I find it just as tasty and tender for cooking as spinach, and it plants itself. I take a few cuttings until it starts to shoot up. More than about knee high it does get very hard to pull out, and by end of summer can be 5 feet and produce lots of seed.
On Jan 1, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:
Way more of these plants show up in my garden than I can get rid of. They seem to produce a vast amount of viable seed that can lay dormant for extended periods of time.
As stated, the leaves can be eaten, but I rate it with some of the other wild greens, such as Pokeweed.....far more trouble than the food benefits. They aren't that tasty...they are just edible...and lots of stuff falls in that category.
I'll pull mine out, plant something like a tasty mustard or spinach if I want a green veggie.
On Nov 16, 2003, pixy242 from oshawa Canada wrote:
While I don't recommend anyone consuming anything if they have a doubt about it, the Cornell Univ warnings re: poisonous effects of certain plants have to be taken in the context of modern agricultural practices.
When allowed to graze freely, and have choice, animals instinctively avoid certain plants, or eat only judicious amounts of them. When animals are not free-range and passively receive bales of fodder which may have large amounts of such weeds, they consume it indiscriminately and can fall ill.
We would not be here discussing this -- our ancestors would not have survived eating such plants -- if they are so harmful to humans. It is only in the past 100 years that such plants are treated as noxious weeds, subjecting them and our environment to even more poisonous chemicals.
Human consumption is fairly low, but we should learn the traditional ways of preparing these foods, as by trial and error humans figured out safe ways of consuming foods, which science is only now coming to understand.
On Dec 28, 2002, woolylam from Decorah, IA (Zone 4a) wrote:
Originally my comment would have been negative, but after finding this weed was edible I have enjoyed pulling it and popping it in my mouth. It still is everywhere in my garden, but I have learned that it thrives way better than some other greens and has no bitter taste (when young). If you can't beat them, join them. :)
On Aug 11, 2002, talinum from Kearney, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:
This is another agressive plant in the midwest. It can be used as a pot-herb when the leaves are young. It is said it is a good spinach substitute or can be used in salads. It has a long tap root and is difficult to pull out.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Hazel Green, Alabama Kachina Village, Arizona Clovis, California Aurora, Colorado (2 reports) Grand View Estates, Colorado Clayton, Georgia Wauconda, Illinois Benton, Kentucky Brookeville, Maryland Cresaptown-bel Air, Maryland Linthicum, Maryland Detroit, Michigan Minneapolis, Minnesota St Cloud, Minnesota Woodland, Minnesota Belton, Missouri Cole Camp, Missouri Rogersville, Missouri Cayuga Heights, New York Deposit, New York Fairport, New York Southold, New York Henderson, North Carolina Wake Forest, North Carolina Wilsons Mills, North Carolina Riverlea, Ohio Vinton, Ohio Boise City, Oklahoma Brooksville, Oklahoma Millersburg, Pennsylvania Clarksville, Tennessee Barton Creek, Texas Eagle Mountain, Utah Lehi, Utah Lake Barcroft, Virginia Mercer Island, Washington Millwood, Washington Navy Yard City, Washington