Jun
7

First Wild Meal 2012 – Lambs Quarters

By Su  //  Garden Journal  //  No Comments

My first wild edibles excursion of the year is Lambs Quarters. I harvested some at the library in downtown Mecosta, and also grabbed some while weeding at the neighbor’s garden. My typical lambs quarters dish is somewhat like cream of spinach soup. I cook the greens in water, sometimes with some vegetable stock and/or salt  and then make a roux with butter, flour and milk or cream. Once the greens are cooked, I add the roux to the pot and stir it up. From what I understand, it’s generally a good idea to add the roux last and make sure the heat is relatively low to prevent separation. My soup turned out mighty tasty and pretty green!

Image source: Don’t ya just love it when a website classifies a highly nutritive wild plant as a “noxious weed”?


Collect the young tender plants whole, and then when the stems become tough, collect just the leaves and tender tips… Use the shoots, leaves and tips in any way that you might use spinach. It tastes a lot like spinach, only milder, with sort of a hint of peapods

Recipes included in the PDF below are: Lambs Quarters Rolls, Lambs Quarters Quiche, Lambs Quarters Lasagna, Greens Tacos, Quelites and Beans

Source: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sjbrines/sys/lambsquarters.pdf

Nature’s “Mineral Tablet”

The health food store shelves are full of pills, including mineral tablets. But nature provides an excellent alternative-one that you take advantage of by eating. This is lamb’s-quarter, a spinach relative found worldwide in the wild. It probably grows in your garden even if you don’t plant it. Used raw in salad or in juice mixes, 100 grams of lamb’s-quarter (about a cup) contains about 80 mg of vitamin C, 11,600 IU of vitamin A, 72 mg of phosphorus, 309 mg of calcium, and small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. These figures are slightly lower when you cook the lamb’s-quarter for a spinach replacement, or in soups, egg dishes, or vegetable dishes. You could nearly survive on lamb’s-quarter alone!

Source: A Better Way to Heal – Mother Earth News

Chenopodium berlandieri,

also known by the common names pitseed goosefoot, huauzontle, and lambsquarters, is an annual herbaceous plant in the goosefoot family.

Chenopodium berlandieri is one of the few plants that was domesticated in the prehistoric and Woodland period in eastern North America, making it a part of the so-called Eastern Agricultural Complex. There is archaeological evidence that shows that Chenopodium berlandieri was extensively foraged as a wild plant in eastern North America as early as 8,500 BP (6,500 BCE). By 3700 BP (1700 BCE) the plant had clearly been domesticated as a pseudocereal crop. A variety of regional cultivars have even been recovered from various widely separated sites. The oldest evidence for domestication comes in the form of stashes of thin-testa seeds from rock shelters in eastern Kentucky. The crop ceased to be cultivated in the region by about 1750 CE.

Although cultivation of the species died out in eastern North America, the plant continues to be grown as a domesticated crop in Mexico, though its cultivation has been declining. This cultivated form of the plant is ranked as a subspecies, namely Chenopodium berlandieri ssp. nuttalliae. There are three varieties of the subspecies which are grown as a pseudocereal, as a leaf vegetable, and for its broccoli-like flowering shoots, respectively.

Based on similarities between this modern cultivated form and the archaeological specimens from eastern North America, it was suggested that the species was first domesticated in Mexico and later brought to upper North America. There is currently no archaeological evidence to support this position, with some experts even suggesting that the crop may have been absent from Mexico until the 16th century CE. Genetic studies have shown that wild eastern North American plants and the Mexican cultivated forms have considerable genetic distance between them. This has been interpreted as indicating a later second domestication event in Mexico.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenopodium_berlandieri

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