Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Methow Valley Plant of the Week: Lamb's Quarters

Botanical Information
Scientific Name:
Chenopodium album
Chenopodium or Goosefoot
Lamb’s quarters are a common weedy vegetable that countless people try to rid from their
garden in vain. When I see this hearty green popping up in my garden soil I am overjoyed for here is a highly nutritious plant that is easily cultivated, harvested and consumed.
This inconspicuous plant is recognized by its wavy triangular green leaves and whitish
coloring underneath. It grows anywhere from one foot to ten feet tall and has plentiful black seeds. It often has a reddish tinge at the base of the stem. As always be sure to correctly
identify this plant before consuming.
The leaves are incredibly high in calcium, beta carotene, thiamine, niacin, and potassium.
A 1/2 cup of the seeds provides the recommended daily allowance for calcium and healthy servings of niacin and potassium.
Historical Uses:
Lamb’s quarters has been used by many cultures all around the world. Archaeological findings show that it was an early food in northern Europe as well as in northern and southern America.
It was historically grown during times of warfare when other food sources were scarce. The black plentiful seeds of this plant were grounded to make a black bread for Napoleon and his troops.
Contemporary Uses:
Lamb’s quarters taste very
similar to spinach and can be used in the same way. We love them in scrambled eggs, crepes, or quiche. They can be eaten raw or cooked. However, also like spinach, they contain oxalic acid which can be rough on the kidneys—so moderation of raw greens is advised.
The greens are best when harvested young, or less than a foot tall. They can be blanched for future use by boiling for one minute and then freezing.
Lamb’s Quarters Quiche
1 prepared pie crust
1/2 onion chopped
1 lb of nitrate-free bacon
Several handfuls of Lamb’s
6 Eggs
Pinch of Salt
Tsp mustard
Tsp of dried basil
1 Cup of Local Raw Milk
1 cup Goat Cheese
Chop the bacon into small slices about a 1/2 inch wide. Sauté until almost entirely cooked, add the
onion and cook until onion is
In a medium bowl combine the eggs, salt, basil, milk, and mustard and mix well.
Place the cooked bacon and
onions in the prepared pie crust, sprinkle the goat cheese over the bacon, and then add the egg
Cook at 3500 or until the edges are brown and it is solid in the center. Let cool and eat warm or chilled.

Works consulted:
Linda Runyon,
Crabgrass Muffins to Pine Needle Tea
Janice Schofield,
Discovering Wild Plants