Lambsquarter grows wild and we have an abundant supply here. I recently harvested a bag full of young leaves from our garden. It is comparable to Spinach in many ways.
Compared to Spinach, Lambsquarter is higher in calcium, protein, and fiber. This link compares raw Lambsquarter with raw Spinach in detail.
The young tender leaves are less bitter and they can be harvested all the way up to Fall. Farm the leaves throughout the season.
The seeds may be used as well and contain higher levels of nutrition. The seeds may be ground into flour and they also make an excellent bird seed. The seeds can be harvested in the fall and ground into cereal or used as flour for bread.
Similar to quinoa, Lambsquarter seeds can be easily sprouted in one to two days. Add the sprouts to any meal to benefit from the rich nutrients. Lambsquarter seeds also make great microgreens. They start out small and frail looking but given time grow into healthy plants with delicious flavor.
Use Lambquarters just as you would spinach. Leaves may also be dried and they reconstitute well or grind into flour and add water and make a tortilla.
Here is a recipe I have not yet tried but sounds good. Cream of Lambsquarter soup
I found this as well and may try it with my current bounty.
2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
3 cups Lambs 1/4 leaves
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup toasted nuts (I use walnuts or almonds)
1/3 cup kalamata olives
2 T miso
1 T chili paste or 1 t cayenne pepper or to taste
1. chop the garlic in a food processor
2. add the onion chop
3. add the remaining ingredients and process or chop until finely chopped
Makes 2 1/2 cups
Serve with pita chips or as a spread on a healthy sandwich
Aside from a nutrient dense food, Lambsquarter also has medicinal value.
Here is some more information I found in Mother Earth News:
A tea of the leaves is beneficial for diarrhea, internal inflammation, stomach aches, and loss of appetite. The tea can also be used as a wash to heal skin irritations and other external complaints. Soaking the body in bathwater with Lambsquarter tea added will support skin health by toning and tightening the tissues.
Raw leaves are beneficial to supporting the healing of anemic blood conditions.
Raw leaves may be chewed to ease toothache pain, or used as a poultice to alleviate swelling, rheumatism and arthritis. Add powder to a capsule and take as a vitamin supplement.
The roots contain saponin and can be used to make a cleansing soap. Mashing or beating the roots creates a natural soapy quality. A tea concoction from the roots also creates a cleansing laxative removing excesses from the body.
I found this little gem in a Mother Earth News article. I would use coconut oil in place of mallow.
1 cup fresh Lambsquarter roots, chopped
1 cup mallow
2 cups mallow water or ﬂaxseed soak water
1 cup fresh aloe vera leaf, skin and all, chopped
A few drops of essential oils (optional)
Add all ingredients to the blender except the essential oil and blend thoroughly until frothy. Strain out all ﬁber and then add the essential oil and mix it in by hand. Use this shampoo while it is fresh and experience the full exhilaration of its wild aliveness! If it goes ﬂat, blend the mixture again to recreate the frothy, foaming nature. It will keep up to one week stored in the refrigerator.
Lambs quarter is the second highest in nutrition of all wild foods. Amaranth is #1.
The gritty feel is pollen…rinse well.
It is also known by these names: Pigweed, Fat-hen, goosefoot, bacon weed, Muck Hill weed.
As always, harvest Lambsquarter in untreated, industrialized areas and avoid plants along roadsides, driveways and sidewalks.
Lambsquarter is a relative of spinach. Avoid too much raw consumption of plants with heavy oxalic acid content. Cooking will destroy some of the oxalic acid but for salad and smoothies use lemon juice to neutralize the oxalic acid and help prevent kidney stones.
Lambs quarter has a poisonous look-a-like (Nettleleaf Goosefoot). Nettleleaf Goosefoot has a distinguishable foul odor when leaves are bruised. This is a comparison of the two plants.
Lambsquarter is prolific and you should be able to find it easily. Think twice before pulling that “weed”. Weeds are blessings. 🙂