Friday, June 14, 2013

Edible weeds from the orchard

The other day I wrote a blog post about trouble I was having identifying weeds growing in the orchardI've been weeding the orchard to give the clover an unfettered opportunity to create a solid ground cover to protect the soil, fix nitrogen and prevent weeds from coming up. 

One weed I can readily identify is known to me as lambs quarters. I've also heard it called Aztec spinach. Regardless of the name, I think it's delicious.


I pull the lambs quarters well before it goes to seed, which is also when it's tender and effortless to remove. And since the whole idea of this orchard is to be a food forest, I eat everything edible it produces.

As I pull lambs quarters, I gather it in one hand with the roots facing the same direction. After weeding, I cut off the stems and roots with a garden shears, though taking them into the kitchen and chopping them off with a knife would've been fine too.

Here are my two favorite ways to prepare this spring green. If you have a favorite way to prepare this green, or if there are other so called "weeds" that you eat, please share them in the comments.

Lightly sautéed

  1. Rinse the leaves and stems and spin out in a salad spinner. 
  2. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a frypan and warm-up. 
  3. Put the greens in the frypan and turn a few times until the leaves are coated with oil. 
  4. Then allow the bottom leaves to fry a little bit (we're not talking deep-fried here think stirfry), and stir them up a couple of times. 
  5. Serve hot.

Nearly done sautéeing.
Steamed with vinegar

  1. Rinse the leaves and stems and spin out in a salad spinner. You don't need to get the water off, I just find this helps get the last of the dirt off.
  2. Put in a large saucepan with a couple of table spoons of water and a tablespoon of your favorite vinegar. 
  3. over and steam for just a few minutes. The leaves will turn a bright green, will wilt and the stems will become tender. 
  4. Serve hot.