Lambsquarters: Too Good to be Wild!

Lambsquarters are deliciious, Lambsquarters as food

Lambsquarters so good it ought not to be treated like a weed.

When I was a kid I weeded a lot of lambsquarters out of my parents’ garden. What I can’t remember, is just when I figured out that lambsquarters are too good to simply weed. They really should be harvested. This is the one “wild plant” which, for culinary purposes can actually beat pokeweed. Lambsquarters has a mild flavor and doesn’t require any longer cooking than would spinach. Most would probably consider lambsquarters to be a tad milder than spinach. I cannot remember serving this one to a guest who had a negative reaction to its palatability.

Lambsquarters rivals or surpasses pokeweed as a green vegetable.

Closeup of Lambsquarters
Lambsquarters has a distinctive appearance and freely volunteers in the vegetable garden.

Another great edible “weed” is Pokeweed.

This plant is so good, we harvest it for use all year round.

We let it sprout in fairly large patches in the garden and rejoice to cut it by the bucketful, around the time we are planting other crops in the garden. All it takes is one plant to go to seed, and there should be many little plants in the coming year. My favorite way to preserve it is to blanch and freeze it in zip lock bags. When we want some, we simply thaw a bag and go from there. We eat the greens  as a stand alone veggie or added to soups and stews. Another way to preserve lambsquarters is to dehydrate them, storing in a sealed jar, away from direct sunlight.

How to blanch lambsquarters and other greens

Pail of Lambsquarters, large quantity of lambsquarter greens
We love to pick lambsquarters in quantity and preserve some for winter.

How do I get seed?

There are a number of ways to get seed. One way would be to purchase seed. Lambsquarters seed is offered by a number of seed companies.  At the bottom of this post you’ll find a link for seed on Amazon. Personally, unless looking in the winter, I’d just keep my eyes open for a small plant, bring it home and let it go to seed in my garden. I did this when we first moved to Oklahoma. That one plant got over 5′ tall and, in the fall, when it was dead and dry, I just yanked it and shook it, as I walked out of the garden. The next spring I had oodles of lambsquarter seedlings!

Once you have a plant, you can save seed and plant it where you wish.

However, I often just mark out my lambsquarters’ bed wherever it comes up most thickly, sort of like throwing a dart and, then, drawing the bulls eye around it 😉

Take the time to learn to recognize lambsquarters and cook it. It’s a healthy vegetable with absolutely no negative qualities. Lambsquarters should be found in every garden and, er… and it just might. Take a look!

 

 

Did you know?

Lambsquarters (a.k.a goosefoot) were grown by early Native Americans, for both greens and seed (ground for flour)?

Source: Forward of  Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving. by Bill Best and Dobree Adams. University Press of Kentucky

Article: Making the Most of Weeds

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