Lamb’s-Quarters—Edible Weeds

It is important to refer to guidebooks or local foraging experts to identify plants. Please look at our posts as starting points, not as definitive references on plants. Some medical conditions can be complicated by wild plants.
edible_weeds_lambs_quarterLamb’s-quarters, Chenopodium album, also known as pigweed, goose foot, and wild spinach, has edible leaves and seeds. While the leaves can be eaten raw, it is not recommend to eat large quantities as the leaves contain saponins. Cooking reduces these. Cooking also reduces the oxalic acid content. The leaves can be harvested from mid-spring into the fall.

The leaves are a good spinach substitute. We add fresh leaves to salads and smoothies. We dry or freeze the leaves for winter to add to smoothies. Like spinach, we steam and sauté the stems and leaves, or add them to soups. In Japan, lamb’s-quarter is also recognized as an edible wild plant. The young leaves are boiled and marinated with sesame seed or peanut butter dressings.

The seeds are very nutritious and can be ground into flour. We have found the seeds to be really small and difficult to harvest. The seeds aren’t wasted: our population of wild birds love them.