Lamb's Quarters

While weeds have been a part of my diet for over thirteen years now, and I've had many occasions to speak about eating them, it's been a long time since I've actually served them to anyone. In fact, apart from my wife, I can only recollect that reporter from the St. Albert Gazette, and my room-mates from just before I was married. And with my roomies, it was only dandelion root coffee.

Dandelion root coffee and chickweed omelets were part of a strategy to introduce weed-eating to people using the least foreign tasting species. Something like prickly lettuce isn't a friendly starting point. "Just that picture of prickly lettuce in your blog looked menacing," [info]amandi_khera said. "I don't think I'd ever put something like that in my mouth."

Today though, I'd start with lamb's quarters. It's not just "least foreign tasting". It really tastes good.

This was my supper tonight:

Left-over rice in hot popcorn-green tea, smoked oysters, and lamb's quarters sauteed with chopped bacon. Those are re-used disposable chopsticks that we wash in the dishwasher.

Lamb's quarters is a member of the Goosefoot family, named for the shape of their leaves.

Lamb's quarters plant

It's one of the weeds where age doesn't seem to affect the taste. Other weeds will get bitter and woody as they grow, but the lamb's quarter plant I ate tonight was over two feet high and it was as good as ever. I just clip off the leaves with a pair of scissors and wash. Then add to a pan of chopped bacon that has been sauteed until crisp. Fry until the leaves are wilted and dark green.

I actually had lamb's quarters for lunch today, too. It was a toasted sandwich of sliced feta cheese and sauteed (in butter) lamb's quarters.

You can't tell by looking at The Vacant Lot of Eden (my nickname for my weed-infested yard), but we actually did plant some store bought seeds. The irony is that I've since discovered that two species of seed we bought were, at the time of publication of my weeds books, considered weeds! The strawberry spinach is a relative of lamb's quarters, and red amaranth is a kind of pigweed.

A climate change researcher tested the effects of elevated CO2 and heat on weed growth (reported here.) He used downtown Baltimore as his simulated future atmosphere as the temperatures there "run 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer on average than those of the surrounding countryside, and the concentration of CO2 in the local atmosphere (440 to 450 p.p.m., or parts per million by volume) is well above the current global average."

His findings:
Not only did the weeds grow much larger in hotter, CO2-enriched plots — a weed called lambs-quarters, or Chenopodium album, grew to an impressive 6 to 8 feet on the farm but to a frightening 10 to 12 feet in the city.

The catastrophic effects of climate change are not at all mitigated by this factoid, but it did help me with my global warming anxiety.


(cross posted at

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Did you boil the rice in the genmaicha or just pour it over the leftovers?

Thanks for the comment ~ the 'recipe' for chazuke (green tea over rice) is to pour the tea over servings of freshly cooked or leftover rice, and top with strong-tasting prepared fish such as smoked salmon, eel, or oysters and garnished with sliced scallions and chopped Japanese pickles.

I'm getting hungry just typing this - and I just finished dinner!

I been looking for a weed used to make cabbage rolls .
has a variety of names . Natena is the Ukranian word for it .Love the leaves.

Also Lambs Quarter or pigweed is simiiar but not quite the same .Does anyone have any idea where I may find some ??
Email me if anyone knows .
Thanks and hoping.

The weed for cabbage rolls is a form of wild grape leaf just like the kind that the Greeks use to make Dolmas (rice stuffed grape leaves). A local woman found them here in urban Winnipeg somewhere, but she wouldn't divulge to me where.

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