Among the most common edible plants in North America, you will find this beauty! Chenopodium album is known as many names around the world including, white goosefoot, and wild quinoa. Easy to find and use, you will have endless recipes to prepare with it.
For a quick video helping identify this plant, click HERE!
For more recipes using lambsquarters try out my potato cakes!
If you want some meat to go along side of it, try out my Simple Pork Tenderloin!
And when you are done with that, wash up with some easy homemade soap!
Uses Of Lambs Quarters
Lambs Quarters is a close relative of quinoa, and therefore has highly nutritious edible seeds. The seeds were collected and stored for use as food by European settlers, and the Blackfoot tribes of Northern United States and Southern Canada.
The leaves of Lambs Quarters are edible, raw or cooked. Lambs Quarters go wonderfully in a salad, or to sauté and use as a side dish. Leaves can be chewed and used as a poultice for insect bites, and sunburns.
The roots of Lambs Quarters, when made into a tea, have been used to treat stomach aches, intestinal worms, scurvy, and much more.
How To Harvest Lambs Quarters:
Lambs Quarter greens are edible at all stages, but are much more tender and mild in flavor in the spring when they begin growing.
You can harvest the entire plant, by picking a few inches from the ground with your hands. I like using kitchen shears or a pair of garden pruners to do the same.
Or, harvest individual leaves to keep your food crop growing all season long!
Harvest a meals worth of lambs quarter greens. For this recipe we will be using about 1 cup of greens.
Wash your greens thoroughly. Make sure to use a clean water source.
You might be very surprised at how much nutrition is packed in these leaves. Lambs Quarters are known as the second most nutritious wild edible plant in the world.
How To Cook Lambs Quarter Greens:
Heat up your skillet and add some cooking oil, I use homemade lard. Vegetable, olive, or canola oil will work fine.
Add your washed lambs quarter greens to your hot skillet.
Sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, shrunken in size, and doesn’t have too much excess water in the pan.
Stir your greens to coat with freshly melted butter.
Your lambs quarter greens are now ready to eat as is, or to use as a side dish!
Glass of wine is optional but quite necessary.
For this recipe, I made easy rice in the instant pot, and fried up a fresh chicken egg.
I also picked some edible bee balm flowers. Bee balm is related to mint and has a delightful taste and aroma.
Lambs Quarters and Bee Balm flowers grow all across the United States.
The lambs quarter plant has tap roots which go deep down into the ground to access nutrients. This is good for some things and bad for others.
They clean up overly fertilized farmland and return the nutrient density to a healthy level. However, you do not want to eat lambs quarter greens from an overly fertilized field. The lambsquarters can pick up an excess amount of nitrogen which is harmful if eaten in large quantities.
Harvest your lambs quarters from a natural looking location. If you can’t find this setting, harvesting, or purchasing seeds online and planting them in areas around you, is not difficult. Doing so will undoubtedly pay you back for your troubles.
This is one of many lambsquarters recipes, and can be used as a general purpose recipe guide for cooking any wild edible greens. Lambsquarters can be used in place of spinach in any recipe and I think you will be very happy with the result.
Lambs Quarter Range Map
As seen above, lambs quarters grows in every US state. With all parts of the plant being edible, it can provide a tremendous food source for you and your family.
Lambs Quarter Look-Alikes
Solanum nigrum – Black nightshade
Black nightshade is a common introduced plant in North America. The unripe berries and leaves are rich in a toxin called Solanine.
Parts of this plant and edible strains of it are used by people all around the world for many different things. However, it is generally toxic and requires much knowledge to use.
Solanum Ptycanthum – Eastern black nightshade
The eastern black nightshade is a native North American plant that has toxic levels of Solanine in its leaves and unripe fruit. The very ripe fruit of this species is generally considered safe to eat in small quantities.
However as stated above, the nightshade family which includes potatoes and tomatoes is a highly variable genus and takes a trained eye to recognize the different species.
- Lambs quarters appears powdery. Nightshade does not.
- Lambs quarters has tiny clusters of green flowers. Nightshade has large, noticeable, white to purple flowers, almost identical to a potato flower.
- Nightshade grows berries. Lambs quarters does not grow berries.
- Water will completely run off of the leaves of lambs quarters, like duck feathers. Nightshade leaves will hold water droplets.
- 1 Cup Lambs Quarter greens
- 1 Tbsp Oil, any will do, I used homemade lard.
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 5 to 10 drops balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 3 to 5 Red Purple Bee Balm Flowers (optional)
- Harvest, wash, and rinse your lambs quarter greens.
- Heat up your pan, melt oil, add lambs quarter greens.
- Cook lambs quarter greens 3 to 5 minutes until tender and add salt and pepper.
- Add butter and pull off of heat.
- Stir greens to coat with melted butter.
Lambs quarter greens are best eaten when young but can be eaten any time of the year.
Although edible and highly nutritious, lambsquarter seeds contain saponins and should not be eaten in excess.
Raw lambsquarter leaves contain small quantities of oxalic acid and should be eaten sparingly. Cooking the leaves removes this acid and eliminates any concern of eating lambsquarter leaves.