Lamb's Quarters is our star and offers one way to feed our 'Wild'...
Feeding our 'Wild' is something that effortlessly begins to happen the moment we decide to seek wild edibles. Already the soul jumps up and we feel an enticing, excited sort of coaxing from within to get outside and find the more nutritious wild plants that feed our original self and call it forth. The body relaxes more in the presence of solid nutrition plugged into Nature. Our soul or wildness always responds and steps closer when spending time in Nature. While there are many ways to feed our 'Wild' and some have nothing to do with food, let's explore this through a walk with Lamb's Quarters, our Wild Spinach lovely found all over that makes it easy for us to just start.
'Wild-ing' your favorite recipes is so easy. You simply look over the elements that are cultivated and consider what the wild is offering us and then substitute. Then I consider making adjustments for personal flavor choices, such as I love the tangy flavor of goat cheese so I work that in. You may love the flavor onion or green scallions, so Ramp leaves (please leave the bulbs as they are becoming endangered due to wild food harvesting without concern for the plants survival), or onion grass leaves and bulbs will increase the onion flavor and nutrition from some of our wild, original foods.
Lamb’s Quarters is a delicate, leafy green and may be used as a substitute for baby spinach in any recipe you have. I eat this in fresh and cooked preparations. Used widely in Latin cuisine it is often paired with fresh cheeses, chile sauces, fresh citrus and berries, nuts, strong cheeses, spring vegetables such as peas and asparagus, eggs and potatoes, or tossed with hot pasta or grains until barely wilted. For me, Lamb's quarters has a more mild, creamy, and less metallic flavor than mature spinach and is complimented by vinaigrette, fresh herbs, garlic, toasted bread and beans. It goes into my wild weed pesto and most soups while in season. I love it in scrambled eggs with chives or spring onions just cooked a moment before adding the eggs and a favorite cheese. This is one of those versatile ones that enhances any dish so it's easy to add handfuls to just about anything in my kitchen.
They will easily grow in with your cultivated greens, will be one of the first to sprout in newly disturbed soil, and be found in many wild non-cultivated areas. The deer adore this one and will eat this before all others so let it grow near the plants you don't want the deer to eat. It's worked for me for years so we can all live together peacefully. When the nights are still cool in spring or getting cooler in the fall, young plants will have this gorgeous pink hue to their new growth. Delicious and beautiful works on my plate.
Lamb’s quarters ~ Chenopodium album
Lamb’s quarters is the perfect substitute for spinach in any recipe. It's particularly good for people who have to watch spinach intake due to being a kidney-stone-maker because it lacks the oxalates that are found in some of over one hundred varieties of kidney stones made by humans. While I warn you that oxalates should not be the main focus for such a condition, Lamb’s quarter does offer an even greener, earthier, creamy, mineral flavor. Some describe the taste of this young, wild spinach as reminiscent to asparagus and cabbage. It has a distinctly unique flavor and is very creamy in texture which is what I love about it.
Producing scalloped, triangular velvety-textured leaves, the entire plant, including the stems, is edible. Small black edible seeds on the plants are most often not fully developed when wild spinach is harvested and are still encased in tiny green pollen-like balls, which are also edible. You can only nourish the one's you feed Lamb's Quarters. All is edible; nothing is poisonous.
Lamb’s quarters, botanically known as Chenopodium album, is also frequently known as lamb's quarter spinach or wild spinach, Indian spinach, goose-foot spinach. Lamb’s quarters is a European cousin to quinoa and beets. Lamb’s quarters is found growing prolifically throughout North America where it’s commonly regarded and discarded as a weed. Usually available spring and summer and year-round in moderate climate regions, this is one the deer LOVE so I love for it to grow big near others they nibble and they will devour this one first and move on.
High in vitamin C and rich in riboflavin, one cup of cooked lamb's quarters provides an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins E, B6, and thiamine. Lamb’s quarters actually contains substantially more nutrients than all cultivated spinach! It's a super food so work it into your meals.
Lamb's Quarter, Beet & Grain Salad
Yield 6 Servings
Interesting and Delicious Additions:
I find that bringing in the WILD ones makes my recipes more satisfying. I simply don't get hungry as often. I suspect it's the boosted nutrition from the wild additions that just pack a greater nutritional punch than our cultivated foods, even when grown well. Then there is that which eludes being measured and weighed. It's quite possible that in slowing down to seek these kinds of foods and figuring ways to bring them into our bodies in a beautiful, delicious way actually feeds that wild place that comes forth and eases the body and the mind that struggles with this modern way. Indeed, this is how the wild ones feed me.
Are you ready to deepen your walk with the plants as medicine keepers and make this part of your primary healthcare for yourself and your family? Maybe you're longing to design your own apothecary with potent medicines for when needed? Maybe listening to the plants directly is a calling for you. Take a look at our on-going herbal classes.
There's a start anytime on-line course to get you started or begin the process of tightening the weave of who you are, right where you are, with the medicine plants. In-Person courses start each May in Woodstock, NY. where we walk together for 13 Moons and learn how to find your own way of moving with the medicine plants as an Herbalist for yourself, family and loved ones. Full descriptions below.
Jennifer Costa, Herbalist, Teacher, BS, RN, CST, and Founder of ElderMoon School of Herbs & Earth Medicine