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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Backyard Foraging-Lambs Quarters


(Lambs Quarters growing in my garden.)
Hi everyone! In the interest of making sure that we can all eat even if the stores are out of food, here's another installment in the Backyard Foraging series. (If this is only the 2nd post, can I still call it a series???) :)
Lambs quarters is considered a weed by many, but it can provide you with great nutritious food from spring until fall. If you have some recently tilled or disturbed soil, you might have lambs quarters growing there. It is a relative of spinach and contains beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, iron, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber. The above picture is of young lambs quarters. It has diamond-shaped leaves, shallow teeth, and the smallest leaves have a powdery substance on them. (Notice how the tiniest leaf has the white powder on it?) If left to grow, it takes on the shape of a tiny tree. The leaves can be pulled off and eaten raw like spinach, or steamed. It is quite tasty and I enjoy eating it raw while working in the garden. The above picture is of a plant I'm letting grow near my peas.
I was first introduced to lambs quarters by an older, widowed Puerto-Rican gentleman who was letting us garden in his yard. Apparently, when he was in the Puerto-Rican army, the soldiers had to find food on their own. Therefore, they ate all the foraged food they could find. As we were doing our weeding in his garden plot, he would continually bring us 'weeds' to try!! I'm so glad he did this; it was like having an expert forager point out good foods!
As with any wild edible, please make sure that you properly identify what you are eating. Here is a site I found that has a few more pictures of lambs ear. If you can find someone who knows wild foods, have them double-check what it is you're looking for. Many plants, including lambs ear, have look-a-likes that can be poisonous. Please be safe while you're foraging! Also, make sure that your foraged foods have not been sprayed. I hope that you find some lambs ear near you and give it a try!
Prep On!
Gen-IL Homesteader
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4 comments:

Nancy said...

I enjoyed your post. I live in Texas and have been looking for a good book on local edible plants in my area. I finally found one yesterday that is full of good information. I think foraging is an indispensible survival skill.

upinak said...

I should show you what they concider wil cukes up here. Or you can google them yourself.

Look for watermelon berries. They are wild cukes up here and the berries are really good!

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Nancy, I totally agree with you. If we are to survive when grocery stores are not available, foraging will be a no-cost way to stay fed! So glad you found a good book. I have 2 at the house, and I looked in one the day I wrote this, and it didn't even have lambs quarter in it! Strange!! I guess it's good to have more than one, or one specific for your area! Thanks for stopping by!!

Simply Natural Homestead said...

I was wondering what those look like. Don't think we have any in our yard. I read they're more nutritious than kale. I'm transitioning to raw food, and using wild greens like this to minimize my expense for greens in my green smoothie (which, by the way, are having an awesome effect on my health). I've been using dandelion greens and the fresh, light green tips of pine trees. I'll keep looking for the lambsquarter.

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