Sometimes I feel downright silly
. . . sweating and toiling to grow a garden full of vegetables and herbs when so many carefree and hardy wild foods grow (quite literally) all over the place, nutrient-rich and free for the picking!
I wrote an earlier post highlighting a fabulous book on wild foods, called The Wild Table, by Connie Green. If you’re interested, you can check it out here. Just on our few acres, right now I can think of several nutritious wild foods that I could waltz out to pick and eat: dandelion, nettle, violet, dock weed, purslane, and the loveliest of all these (not to mention the subject of this post), lambsquarters.
Lambsquarters, or Chenopodium album
is also called white goosefoot or fat hen–charmingly!–and grows wild nearly everywhere. It prefers places where the soil has been disturbed. It’s coming up at our place–a place of many many areas of disturbed soil, *sigh*, right now! The plants are very small this week, but if one leaves them alone, they’ll easily grow several feet tall and one will need to send ones lanky 16 year old son, armed with a machete, to take them down.
If you want to eat lambsquarters, it’s best to cut them when they are small and tender.
How to add this nutrient-rich green to your daily diet
It’s quite simple–while you’re out weeding, planting, or even walking the dog–pull a few handfuls of these wonderful greens and you’ll have the basis of a delicious soup or stir-fry, or a nice addition to a green salad or a sandwich. Take them inside and immerse them quickly in cool water, then spin or pat them dry and store in the ‘fridge in a plastic bag. So easy.
Lambsquarters are wonderful wild plants. Stems and leaves alike are edible, versatile, delicious and nutritious. You can use them in any dish that you would use spinach, raw or cooked.
Steam these greens like spinach and serve as a side dish, or stir into an omelet or pasta dish. They are one of my very favorite wild foods, and actually I think they taste better than spinach, especially steamed with a bit of butter and some freshly-ground salt and pepper, or a dash of olive oil and vinegar. Have I talked you into trying some lambsquarters yet?
Hopefully you’ve slipped out and grabbed some lambsquarters by now, and are anxious to move on to the recipe, already.
Here we go: the quickest, easiest thing to do with lambsquarters. For a very simple summer supper, make these greens, scramble a few eggs, and saw off a hunk of good homemade bread. Yum.
Simple Steamed Lambsquarters
- e tender leaves and stalks while they are small. I prefer to let some keep growing in my garden and keep the tender shoots well trimmed. It is also handy to be able to use the small plants that you have just weeded from around your garden plants.Steam these greens for several minutes until they turn a bright green, only a few minutes, because you do not want them to get mushy. Drain the water from the greens and place onto your serving dish. Pour a dash of olive oil onto each serving. Top with minced fresh garlic and a bit of Bragg's or your favorite seasonings.Voila! In just a few minutes, you have made the best plate of greens that this world could offer! Olive oil
- double handful fresh lambsquarters, rinsed
- Olive oil, as needed
- garlic, smashed
- thyme, oregano, parsley, or other favorite herbs
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper
- Wash fresh young lambsquarters leaves and put into saucepan.
- Add a half inch of water, bring to a simmer, and cover.
- Simmer and steam for a few minutes, until lambsquarters are bright green.
- Remove from heat, drain quickly and add butter or olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with fresh minced garlic and chopped herbs. Voila! Ready to serve.
How’s that for quick and easy?
That’s it for today, but do me (and yourself!) a favor and subscribe to this blog, and you’ll get a note in your inbox when I post new recipes. I’m working on a recipe for lambsquarter soup, and one of lambsquarters spread, too, so you’ll be the first to know when these recipes are finished and released into the world!
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Thanks again for popping in, gentle reader. You’re da best.
- Watching the sunset with Anya
- Cornish cuties in the basement