Eating the Weeds: Goosefoot

A few months ago two of my friends came over for a tour of my garden and some om nom noms.

botanical drawing of goosefoot plant

These two fellows could whip up a casserole with nothing but tree bark and dirt, they’re so damn crafty when it comes to foraging. Walking through my yard they said “Oh! Lamb’s quarters!” and promptly began eating the raw weeds out of my yard. Not being one to miss out on free food, I too began plucking leaves and eating them. Raw, the taste is similar to that of lettuce, with a thicker texture.

Also known as lamb’s quarters, goosefoot is a cousin to spinach, but actually more nutritious. Part of the Chenopodium family, it also hails with Swiss chard and beets.

Used as a Depression-era survival food, this prolific weed’s leaves are edible, though I’ve seen recipes that include the entire plant as well as the seeds being harvested and called “wild quinoa.”

It can be a nitrate accumulator, though, and isn’t recommended for livestock to graze on in large quantities. From what I’ve read this aspect of it only poses a risk to livestock; I’ve eaten it without ever having an issue and feed it whole to my rabbits on an almost daily basis with no problems at all. I just recommend to be thoughtful about where you collect it (low nitrate soils). As always, if you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before eating this.

I like calling it goosefoot, because it looks like a bunch of wee ‘lil goosefeet. It can be treated like spinach in the kitchen, you can saute it with butter or add it in soups or even just eat it raw standing in your back yard marveling at the bounty of nature.

gif of a knight with a dirty face, captioned "Oh shit."Also, goosefoot has almost no odor; when harvesting take a deep breath of the plant, if it has a strong or pungent odor, you’re not picking goosefoot!
I found a good short video on how to identify this nutritious dynamo:

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