Lambs quarters (wild spinach) Chenopodium berlandieri
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All plant is edible, all the time. It grows everywhere. High in vitamin C and rich in riboflavin, one cup of cooked wild spinach provides an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, B6, and thiamine. Wild spinach actually contains substantially more nutrients than cultivated spinach. Best cooked, but can be eaten raw as a salad.
Recipe: Strip leaves from larger stalks, (do not use if “headed” or gone to seed) chop smaller plants. Wash very well to remove any dirt or grit which can cling to underside of leaves.
Chop small amount of bacon or salt pork (even better) & onion to taste. Cook until meat is almost brown & onions are clear. Add Lamb’s Quarter with only the water that remains after washing. Stir down as leaves wilt, then let simmer until tender. Serve plain or some like cider vinegar, hot sauce, etc. to enhance flavor.
Pigsweed, Slender Amaranth (A. blitum )
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Appearance and Habitat: A cosmopolitan weed growing on waste ground in Temperate and Tropical zones. An annual growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in September.
Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach. The leaves contain about 3.88% protein, 1.1% fat, 9.38% carbohydrate, 3.2% ash, 323mg Ca, 8.3mg Fe, they are very rich in Vitamins A & C, rich in vitamin B1. The leaves are used as a potherb in order to remove poison from the system. Seed – cooked. Used as a cereal substitute in cakes, porridge etc. Very small, about 1.2mm in diameter, but it is easy to harvest and very nutritious. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated. An edible dye is obtained from the seed capsules.
Medicinal Uses: A fluid extract of the plant is used as an astringent internally in the treatment of ulcerated mouths and throats, externally as a wash for ulcers and sores. The juice of the roots is used externally to relieve headaches. The plant has a folk reputation for being effective in the treatment of tumours and warts.