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So last weekend I ate a weed that grows along our back deck.

Yep, I did.

And it was glorious…

Meet my new best friend – Lamb’s Quarters:

I am sure what I felt as that wild leaf touched my lips for the first time contained the exact same depth and breadth of anticipation, exhilaration, and excitement Lewis and Clark experienced hundreds of years ago as they consumed unknown flora species.  Yessir, my adventure is exactly the same as theirs.

Growing up I was never that outdoorsy. I wore a Cub Scout uniform for a couple years… but my Den only seemed to sit around and fill out Mad Libs in a church’s basement each week. Our family camped often… but we didn’t exactly live off the land. The window air conditioner unit kept us cool at night and the TV/VCR entertained us as the campfire smoldered. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and those weekends in the camper are some of my favorite childhood memories.

Fast forward to my (begrudging) adult years and I’ve had a bit more experience in the (relative) wild. This includes many weekends in a tent, with my longest continuous stint being 8 nights that saw only one extremely cold shower somewhere in the middle. I’m still far from being able to survive any wild environment with nothing but a blade and the loin cloth on my back, but I’ve come a long way from only earning my Mad Libs Merit Badge.  I mean come on, now I identify and eat weeds.

Joanna and I are really enoying the triumphs and lessons as new gardeners, but wild foraging is something I know absolutely nothing about. I’ve been looking to change that. This adventure is thanks to listening to a Podcast where the day’s subject was little-known nutritional plants all of us modern homeowners work really hard to eradicate. The host was talking about something called Lamb’s Quarters, and I’ll be darned if his description didn’t start sounding really familiar.

I walked outside and sure enough, I thought we had a winner. Looks like my neglect of backyard landscaping was about to pay off.

 

Just like Lewis and Clark, I tripled checked multiple descriptions and pictures on the web to minimize the chances I was about to orphan our 7-month-old because ol’ Dad felt like eating a random weed.

All systems seemed to be go and it was time to nut up or shut up.

I carefully harvested a handful of leaves.

Washed them (being amazed at how well water beads and is repelled! One of the identifying properties.)

 

Then sauteed them  with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.

 

Joanna looked on, shaking her head, thankful I had already posted a picture of my veggie buddy on Facebook so she can easily show the ER doc on her smartphone when my central nervous system shuts down and she carts me away to a poison control center.

Verdict: Lamb’s Quarters is delicious! It tastes similar to spinach, but I sauteed some we had in the fridge  for a comparison and frankly, I prefer the weed.  It’s a bit less bitter. To top it off, Lamb’s Quarters is chock full of nutrients and incredibly worthy of our plate. I’ve been adding a few raw leaves to salads ever since my grand discovery. A little bit will be in every stir fry from here on out.

So now I make sure the sprinkler reaches it and I have carefully weeded around my new favorite weed that is popping up all around our back deck. Those weeds are… well…… growing like a weed.

And I ain’t even seen no psychedelic colors or nuthin’ yet.

 

Question(s) of the Day: Where do you fall in the spectrum of Mad Lib Scout to Eagle Scout?  What do you have growing wild around you that might be edible?  Please go research and report back!

** Editor’s note: since disclaimers are all the rage in the blog world these days, please be aware that neither the Husband nor myself are professional foragers.  Please consult a professional forager before eating weeds you find off your back deck.  Thank you. **

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9 Comments

  1. I’m not sure what the technical name of it is but we have what I call “wild rhubarb” and I’ve wondered if it is edible… not brave enough to try it though.

    • I haven’t had rhubarb in forever! I bought a frozen bag a few months ago and have yet to do anything with it. My mom always paired it with peaches when I was a kid. You should check out the park’s department. A naturalist at a baby hike I go to said they sometimes do tours of the edible plants in the area. She showed us how to get a bead of nectar out of a honeysuckle.

  2. Google and Youtube is your friend! You might be missing out. 🙂

  3. Brave soul you are! Impressed and humbled by your foragery (sp?)

  4. Lamb’s quarters are scrumptious! Purslane is pretty good, too, and seems to grow as easily in the garden / backyard. 🙂

  5. I’ve heard great things about Purslane and understand it has some great benefits, besides just being tasty. If I’m thinking of the right plant, I think it’s a little harder to find out in the wild in these parts, but of course one can acquire some seeds. Now I’m off to do some research. Thanks.

    • I googled it and purslane is much prettier than lamb’s quarters. Wouldn’t it be nice if the weeds looked like we planted them on purpose???

  6. Pingback: Identifying the Edible Weed Garlic Mustard