The Feisty Forager: Lamb’s Quarters
March Madness — Day 25
Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album), also known as goose foot, fat hen, pigweed, wild spinach, and bacon weed (!) is a member of the Amaranthaceae family. Leaves, shoots, seeds, flowers are all edible, and are purported to contain more iron, protein, calcium, and vitamins B1 and B2 than raw cabbage or spinach.
So when and why did we start weeding them out of our gardens? Their soft green dusty-white leaves taste delightful both raw and cooked. Try them in a salad, a quiche, a stir-fry, a soup, or a smoothie. Cut in ribbons and throw in scrambled eggs. Or use as a bed of greenery for fresh oysters.
According to Audrey Wynne Hatfield, author of How to Enjoy Your Weeds, lamb’s quarters was a staple in the diet of the Neolithic, Bronze Age and early Iron Age people, as well as the Romans later on.
I can’t help thinking, as Easter approaches, that a good mess of lamb’s quarters sautéed with a ramp or two would pair perfectly with a roasted leg of lamb, never mind the repetition of the name! Who wants to join me?
This article is one of a month-long series of foraged treasures. For more recipes from the field and forest, check out Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America.