Lambs Quarters (pigweed, goosefoot, wild spinach) is seen by most people as a common weed. They don’t realize that it is a tasty and nutritious green vegetable that can be enjoyed, free for the picking. Lambs quarter, is sometimes referred to as goosefoot because of the shape of its leaves.
Like any edible wild plant you should not eat it unless you are positive of its identification. Be sure it has not been exposed to chemical sprays or pollution, especially if it is found growing on the side of the road.
The lambs quarter’s leaves and stems are edible and delicious. They have a flavor similar to spinach or chard. If you enjoy leafy greens such as kale, collards, and spinach you will like lambs quarter. The easiest way to cook lambs quarter is to simply steam the leaves and stems in a small amount of water until tender. The greens cook rather quickly and turn a dark green color as they shrink down during cooking.
The young leaves and smaller stems are good eaten raw in salads. Michael Pollan who wrote In Defense of Food. Advocates calls lambs quarters and purslane two of the most nutritious plants in the world. Lambs quarter is high in Vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, manganese, potassium and iron. The crushed fresh roots are a mild soap substitute.
Lambs quarter can grow as tall as three and a half feet. The leaves alternate and are often mealy or powdery on the underside. Leaves are wedge shaped at the base, and pointed at the tip with toothed edges. The flowers are arranged in spikes or small dense clusters.
This is a very common plant and well worth your time to investigate. There are look alike plants that are similar in appearance that can be harmful. Be sure you know what it is before you eat it. This article can help you identify other edible weeds.
Interested in growing your very own Lambs Quarter? Head to this link to get seeds!
16 thoughts on “Lambs Quarter a Great Edible Plant”
Good stuff, I’ve ben working on eating and reconizing mre wild edibles. I’m a grazer when out and about
does the pig weed grow in central fl. ? thanks
I believe that it grows all over North America and a lot of Mexico..
Grows worldwide. Related to spinach with very similar properties, including oxalic acid, which cooking helps to neutralize. Eating it raw can be a textural challenge, but blanched & chopped, it’s tough to tell it from spinach (especially if it’s been frozen). Of course, do not forage near roads (exhaust pollution) or places that have been sprayed with pesticides.
Great post. I make a mean Lamb’s Quarter Soup for those interested in ways to prepare this great wild edible. You can view how I make it here: https://willowhavenoutdoor.com/wild-edibles-recipes/weed-chowder-lambs-quarter-soup/
I’ve read that red root pigweed causes kidney failure. Do your homework before you put anything in your mouth.
Red root pigweed looks very different from Lamb’s Quarter, so it doesn’t take much to distinguish between the two. Of course, do your homework. Make sure you’re picking something that is safe to eat.
I have to take a blood thinner. Do you know if lambsquarter will interfere with Warfarin?
If you can eat spinach, lambsquarter should be fine. Grows worldwide. Related to spinach with very similar properties, including oxalic acid, which cooking helps to neutralize. Eating it raw can be a textural challenge, but blanched & chopped, it’s tough to tell it from spinach (especially if it’s been frozen). Of course, do not forage near roads (exhaust pollution) or places that have been sprayed with pesticides.
I decided to try the wild spinach (also known as lambs-quarters, beto shak, goosefoot, pigweed) added to some sautéed potato, with salt and pepper.
Then I tried the dandelion greens, sautéed in a little butter. These are two types of edible weeds, that are growing in my son’s yard.
Both were really delicious. The wild spinach tasted like spinach. The lambs-quarters tasted like mustard greens.
Can you buy Lambs Quarter in grocery stores?
I’ve never seen them, but you can buy the seeds on Amazon.
Have a great patch close to base. Easy picking.
we used to pick it and prepare it just like greens, with salt pork-yummy!!!
I’ve had plants as tall as 8 feet. Seeds can be viable in the ground for 20+ years, so if you let it go to seed once, you’ll always have it…