Lamb’s Quarters: Foraging for Beginners

This will be a brief post, to reflect the rather unremarkable experience of foraging for lamb’s quarters. The Wikipedia Link doesn’t have a very good picture, but any field guide should provide a picture that will lead you to this very common weed.

Finding Lamb’s Quarters

I’ve got it coming up uninvited in my garden, but it can be found in just about any open ground, empty lot, or lawn in the midwest. I don’t see it in “the wild” very often–it seems to be more common on the fringes of civilization. It shows up to fill in bare patches of earth, which don’t occur too often in nature, I guess.

Harvesting Lamb’s Quarters

I’m trying to stick to the format established in the Pokeweed entry, but there isn’t much to harvesting lamb’s quarters. I had a lot of plants growing uninvited in my garden, so I pulled them up whole, and pulled off the top several sets of leaves before depositing the plant in the compost pile. Some of the lamb’s quarters plants have weird purple blotches on the leaves; I avoided these, but that may be purely cosmetic.

Preparing Lamb’s Quarters

Every guide I’ve read suggest that lamb’s quarters are a spinach substitute. None of them specify that they don’t mean you can eat it raw, as you would in a spinach salad. I chewed on a couple of leaves while I was pulling them off the stalks, and the hairy texture of the leaves was unpleasant at best. The leaves are meant to be cooked as a “green”. I have yet to find a great “greens” recipe, so I threw the leaves into a rice-and-beans type dish for the last few minutes of cooking.

Eating Lamb’s Quarters

As stated in the opening paragraph, this was an unremarkable experience. I’m adding lamb’s quarters to my diet, but not with any great enthusiasm. It’s readily available, very nutritious, and easy to add to any dish. It fills the greens gap between cool-season spinach and the hot-weather greens, and I’m pulling it out of the garden anyway–might as well serve it up. There wasn’t much in the taste or texture to really distinguish lamb’s quarters from any other leafy vegetable.

For those of you looking for an easy way to get into foraging (at least until wild raspberry season), this might be the way to go. Lamb’s quarters are easy to find, easy to prepare, and not foreign-tasting in the least.


One Response to “Lamb’s Quarters: Foraging for Beginners”

  1. Winter Greens I: Sprouting « Great Lakes Green Eating Says:

    […] myself.  Most of the cabbage family, including broccoli, works well when sprouted.  I imagine lambs quarters seeds would be good sprouted, but I haven’t collected the seeds yet.  I’m also going to try […]

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