Appearing almost anywhere around the world, lambsquarters are an edible weed that offers nutritious delight and a delicious summer treat for everyone.
Despite being an edible green, many gardeners consider lambsquarter plants as a weed since some companies advertise its seeds to make them seem tame.
This green is capable to take over a garden, turning it into a forest of edible veggies. If you do not like something like this to happen, make sure to pick the lambsquarter before it produces seeds.
Lambsquarters Identification and Introduction
Scientifically known as Chenopodium album, lambsquarter is a common field and roadside plant. It is a member of the expansive amaranth family that includes spinach, chard, beets, and quinoa.
While it may grow as an expansive weed with that characteristic, this green is still favorable among foragers who tend to gather it for the foliage.
You can identify lambsquarters by the undersides of their foliage and the telltale sandy white covering on new growth.
It has very tiny flowers in a greenish color that tends to come out densely in a group. They acquire five green sepals, but there are no petals on its blossoms.
Depending on your preference, having this wild green in the garden can mean forever curse or bless.
Meanwhile, lambsquarter can spread very quickly in many areas as it typically produces minimally 75,000 seeds each season.
As a result, you may need to battle with multiple generations of this green in one season. There is no doubt you will get bunches of lambsquarter once you grow it.
Interestingly, the leaves contain exceptionally numerous nutrients. You can also easily prepare them into tasty meals by steaming, blanching, and boiling.
The Advantages of Growing Lambsquarter in the Garden
Despite its expansive habit, lambsquarters weed offers a variety of benefits that you can take into account.
While its leaves can become a delicious dish for you and your family, this plant also provides several ecological services.
Thanks to its taproot that expands deep into the soil, water and nutrients can draw closer to the surface. It also allows more shallow-rooted plants to access too.
Aside from the leaves, the seeds of this green also serve as a porridge ingredient, bread enhancer, and potent flour additive.
However, you should make sure to consume lambsquarter that you collect from uncontaminated soil only.
The lambsquarter seeds also make a perfect nutrient-packed meal for birds, particularly during the food scarcity at the end of fall.
You can also grow this plant as a ‘trap crop’ since it can divert leaf miners, a common pest that attacks chard and beets.
Furthermore, some people believe that lambsquarters also acquire medical properties. They simmer the leaves of this green and use the water left from the process to relieve toothaches.
People also use a poultice from its simmered foliages to ease swollen or achy joints.
Grow and Control Common Lambsquarters in the Right Way
Growing lambsquarter is pretty easy. This green prefers rich and fertile soil that contains N, P, and K. You better find an area with high magnesium and calcium levels as well.
Lambsquarter can grow healthy on compacted soils too. However, you should watch out for sowbugs, field mice, crickets, millipedes, carabid beetles, and lugs since they tend to feed on the seeds of this green.
In general, growing lambsquarter is not difficult. Otherwise, it is hard to control, especially if you forget to plow or pull under the seedlings before flowering.
Controlling lambsquarters may include mechanical, chemical, and cultural methods. You probably need to combine these techniques for the best result.
When it comes to cultural control, you can try to add tiny grains to the rotations to help to restrain this green.
For mechanical techniques, tillage and flaming can be a good idea. Tilling at night can diminish the emergence of this green by 30 to 70 percent.
Flaming is another effective method to deal with this green. You can do this technique when the plant reaches a half-inch height.
You can also try to control lambsquarter with post-emergence herbicides. Just make sure to do it before the green exceeds the maximum height for this weed control.
Best Lambsquarters Recipes to Try at Home
Considering the available nutrients and potential benefits of this green, there is a good reason to use it as one of your cuisine ingredients.
Due to its oxalic acid content, you need to consume only moderate amounts of this green. This compound is popular for its ability to intercede on the absorption of calcium and iron in your body.
However, similar to the case of spinach, oxalic acid can break down in cooking. You probably have known that pairing this green or lambsquarter with dairy products rich in calcium can avert the difficulties.
Like many other greens, lambsquarter will shrink with cooking. As a result, you need to pick a lot that is mostly easy since its plants typically grow in clumps.
Do you need some inspiration to cook this green for a delicious meal? The following recipes will help.
Pre-cooked lambsquarter makes a great basis for a lot of tasty cuisines including this main-dish custard. You can use the top two inches of the greens to enjoy the tenderest parts.
Several minutes before dinner, gather a basket of lambsquarters and rinse them promptly. Then, let them dry in a colander.
Next, preheat your oven to 161 degrees Celsius. While waiting for it, take your frying pan and pour one to two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
Sauté one chopped onion and sliced mushrooms in the frying pan. Keep doing so until the ingredients limp.
After that, spread the mushroom and onion mixture over the base of a buttered 10-inch deep pie pan or nine by 12-inch lasagna pan.
Chop your lambsquarters and put them in a big bowl. Add some thick yogurt, cottage cheese, powdered mustard, and dried thyme. Mix them well.
Take another large bowl or a blender to beat six eggs, sea salt, ground white pepper, and grated nutmeg until fluffy.
Blend the eggs with lambsquarter well. Then, spread them over the layer of the previous onion-mushroom mix.
After that, you can bake it uncovered for a half hour. Add grated cheddar cheese for topping and continue baking for a couple of minutes to let the cheese melts.
Wait for about 10 minutes before cutting your baking into triangles or squares. Once ready, you can serve it with sliced tomatoes, a vegetable salad, or hot yeast rolls.
Wild Paradise Energy Bar
While lambsquarters child may surprise you as they tend to emerge unplanned, you should take this opportunity to let them grow and provide you with versatile ingredients.
Instead of the main dish, you can make this green into an energy bar that is easy to travel with and gives you elevated vibration to any movement.
To create this energy bar, you need to prepare one tablespoon of dried lambsquarter greens, a cup of pumpkin seeds, half-cup dates, and a cup of sunflower seeds.
Prepare two tablespoons of raw carob powder, one cup of soaked figs, and a half teaspoon of bee pollen as well.
First, grind all the mentioned ingredients using a food processor. Wait until you get a dough-like consistency.
Second, shape the dough into bars and wrap them individually. Then, keep them in the refrigerator.
After that, grab the lambsquarter energy bars anytime you want. Once stored in the refrigerator, they can keep for up to a month.
This recipe offers you complete protein benefits of lambsquarter and other ingredients, so it will be a great one to try.
Simple Steamed Greens
If you want something simpler than green custard to enjoy lambsquarters, simply steam them.
These steamed greens will make a tasty complement to bean salads, basmati rice, and a variety of colorful veggies like sliced tomatoes or carrots.
Gather twice of tender lambsquarter tops as needed since they tend to shrink. Rinse them gently and pop the greens into a large pot with an extra half of water.
Put a cover on the pot and steam the green over medium heat. Turn it off after five to ten minutes.
Put the greens in a colander or sieve to drain. After that, you can place the steamed lambsquarter on a hot dish or cut them with a sharp knife for easy serving.
You can also shake them with extra-virgin olive oil, umeboshi vinegar, and shoyu before serving them with your main dish.
Nutrients Offered by Lambsquarter
The fact about lambsquarters nutrition should be something that encourages more people to include this green into their meals.
Compared to raw spinach or cabbage, this green offers more protein and iron. It also contains more vitamin B1 and calcium than cabbages.
Lambsquarter greens also give you a higher amount of vitamin B2 compared to spinach and cabbage. Don’t forget all the minerals provided by them as well.
It is safe to say that lambsquarter outclasses spinach in many ways including its better capability as a storehouse of phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron.
However, you cannot deny that lambsquarters lose their favors in many regions after the popularity of spinach arises.
Finally, if you do not consider lambsquarters as a weed, it must be perfect to have them in your garden for a healthy, easy-to-grab ingredient for various cuisines.