Lambs quarter is one of the most common garden and backyard weeds. Don’t let its commonplace fool you, this plant is a force to be reckoned with. It is one of THE most nutrient dense wild foods available, even out performing many common vegetables in both vitamin and mineral content. With high levels of phosphorous, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, as well as vitamins K, C, B, and A, it’s no wonder lambs quarter has been a staple for hundreds of generations. And not just as a wild crafted food, but a cultivated one as well. Cultivation of Chenopodium Berlandieri, a North American native, pre dated corn cultivation by 1500 years😲.
Lambs quarter has alternate leaves of a diamond like shape and shallow lobes. The leaves also have a whitish-gray coating which tends to be more prevalent on young leaves. There’s no need to try and was this off, it’s a sign of the plants mineral content. Lambs quarter is a fast growing plant and can grow to be anywhere from 3-5 feet tall. Every part of the plant from stem to seed is edible. Just know, that as the plant ages the stem becomes very woody. We enjoy lambs quarter like fresh spinach (hence the nickname, wild spinach). It also has a similar flavor and texture to spinach. It’s great for salads, tacos, sandwich greens, breakfast greens, I could go on for ever lol. The seeds can be used as a flour substitute, gruel, and sprouted as micro greens and are PACKED with protein. Just half a cup of seeds provides 19g of protein! Lambs quarter is another plant with an oxalic content to keep in mind, as well as it’s ability to gather nitrates from the soil. So if wild crafting be sure to know the area and what gets deposited into the soil.
So next time you’re weeding the garden, set some aside and give it a try! Happy Harvesting!