If you think that it’s weird to eat dandelion, or you find the bitter flavour unpalatable, you should try eating another common weed: lamb’s quarters. It is the perfect gateway weed, very approachable, with a texture and flavour quite similar to spinach. Lamb’s quarters are popping up everywhere, and now is the best time to pick them, when the plants have only a few leaves, for the following reasons:
- The young leaves are the most tender.
- The young leaves taste the best. Older leaves are a little more bland, with a wood flavour.
- Picking the leaves prevents the plant from going to seed. Once the plant goes to seed, it stops producing leaves, and it doesn’t taste as good. As a side note, when lamb’s quarters do go to seed they look uncannily similar to amaranth and quinoa… I haven’t done it yet but I’m super curious to know if the seeds could be used as a grain.
I suppose the above statements apply to most edible perennials that are coming into season.
You can easily identify lamb’s quarters by the distinct shape of the leaves, shown below.
I use lamb’s quarters exactly as I use spinach: it can be added raw to salads, or wilted into hot dishes like stew.