|Chenopodium album: Goosefoot. |
Freshly picked from my garden plot
Shame on me for chucking these away the past 2 weeks, weeding my plot. This is Chenopodium album, aka Goosefoot or Lambs Quarters, one of the more popular edible wild herbs in the past. Not so well known, or popular nowadays, mostly considered an "Ugly Weed" that gets pulled out and chucked into a compost pile.
However, there are signs that this *weed* is making a comeback to our dinner tables. A lot of Wild Food enthusiasts list this plant as one of the top plants to forage for, as a quick google search of Goosefoot Recipes will yield. The common method is to just saute it in olive oil/butter and garlic. WildFoodGirl likened the taste to Spinach, and her recipe has even dedicated Spinach-lovers raving about this Free Food. Delightful! I cannot wait to try it myself!
Obviously be sensible about where you harvest your wild edibles; don't eat those just growing by the side of the street because of possible hydrocarbon contamination from engine exhaust. Also, if you live in a town that has mining heritage, be aware of areas located close to mines and their leachates. Or pick plants from doggy parks, for the presence of foecal coliforms from the Four-Legged tail-waggy by-products.
If it's in your dedicated vegetable patch, areas not close to pollution (man made, and dog made), then by all means go nuts! I'll be weeding again in a couple of days, and hopefully I will have gathered enough to make a decent sized side dish and give my own review.
I'll be looking into investing some time and money into learning more about the local wild edibles available here. There's a website that I've been studying, on the types of Northern Wild Edibles available, which I think would be interesting for you:
Wild Edible Plants of Northwest Territories
The writer also lists different plants for different regions. I would love to be able to do a similar listing for Southeast Asia someday, before the knowledge of "local free food" vanish amongst the fast moving-tech savvy- Selfie obsessed new emergent culture, where in a short mere one generation the wisdom of plants disappears completely. I guess this worry is applicable to all cultures and countries, not just Malaysia.
|Notice the leaves looks suspiciously like an imprint of a goose's foot, hence the name. Not too sure about the etymology of Lamb's Quarters. When I find out, I will let you know.|
Once you know what to look for, you start noticing them everywhere, and I really mean EVERYWHERE!
|By the side of the road, at the base of a lamp post. |
Obviously well fertilised by our four legged friends ....
Next time you go out for walkies, keep an eye out for my new friend, the Goosefoot :) You can have a look at some better photographs of this wonderful plant on this website, as well:
Edible Wild Food: Lamb's QuartersTake note of the recommendation of NOT eating the seeds, due to the saponin content, which can be toxic if ingested in excess. Hopefully I can identify more plants and share them with you in coming posts.
Edited to add:
You can look up the nutritional analysis of this wild dish here:
Nutritional Data of Lamb's Quarters
24% protein by weight is pretty impressive for a plant, as well as the 129 amino acids score. Spinach scored 119, although having a higher protein by weight percentage at 30%.