CSA: What is Lamb’s-Quarters?

Saturday was my first official CSA pick-up.

I’ve been looking forward to this week for months, after learning about Terembry Farm, a two-year-old organic farm in southern Fauquier that’s focused on heirloom produce. Unlike many CSAs that you hear about, this one didn’t seem like it would leave my kitchen drowning in produce for 10 people that needed to be used exactly this instant. A half-share was described as about the size of a brown paper grocery bag–which sounds perfectly reasonable for one gal cooking for just herself. (Though, I’m sure I won’t be able to resist buying additional produce at the farmers market, and will have to remind myself that I can only eat but so much!)

Sidebar: Thank goodness Robyn was able to pick up the crate Saturday morning for me, since I was in Roanoke with relatives for a little family reunion. And for Spanish tapas, paella, pancakes and to see my dad’s band!

band

emma

tapas

Very little proof of all the food my mom cooked for the weekend. These are just tasty jarred spreads from Trader Joe’s. Somehow I missed taking pictures of the huge pan of paella, vat of sangria and fluffy pancakes!

Back in Fredericksburg on Sunday evening, the first thing I needed to take care of was my produce. This week’s box contained: a bag of baby greens (I washed, dried and stored wrapped in a towel in a plastic bag); a few spring onions; a bag of kale; a dozen eggs; cilantro; a single radish and a single turnip with lots of wilted greens and roots that never became veggies; and a bag of lamb’s-quarters.

I mixed up a salad for dinner Sunday night with all sorts of things I had in the fridge (roasted baby potatoes, white beans, chopped radish, roasted turnip, lettuce and lamb’s-quarters, feta, topped with olive oil and garlic scape infused vinegar). Monday, I pulled leftover frozen pizza dough from the freezer, grilled it, topped it with assorted cheeses and caramelized onions, and threw some dressed greens on top of a few slices. Mmm.

lambsquarter

Lamb’s-quarters

But, you may be wondering by now, “What is lamb’s-quarters?” Well, when visiting Culpeper, I had picked up a $10 copy of Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers Markets, which is becoming a great guide already. (I also want to check out her new book, Vegetable Literacy, from which I made this baked ricotta with fresh peas. So simple, springy and very good.) She writes that lamb’s quarters are a “wild and unusual green,” that can typically be foraged or found at farmers markets:

“Here’s a wild plant (and a cultivar) whose greens are tender like spinach but with a slight edge of the wild in their flavor. Lamb’s-quarters taste as if they’re bound to be good for you–in a good way, that is, for they’re mild and quite delectable. They’re always delicious steamed until tender, after just a few minutes, then treated as you would their relatives, spinach and chard. Among the various cultivars, there’s one that’s stunning in a salad, Magenta Spreen lamb’s-quarters, available from Seeds of Change. It goes from magenta at the base to lilac and finally to green.”

So far for me, it’s been good as a salad ingredient–as long as the leaves are thoroughly washed of the grit hanging the their undersides. For lunch today (one of the benefits of working nights is being able to cook lunches!), I’ll try Madison’s recipe for Scallion Crepes with Stir-Fried Greens. I’ll report back!

And here are some other links about the greens:

Urban Forage: Sheepish about Lambsquarters

 Seasonal Eats: 5 Ways to Enjoy Lambs Quarters

When Life Gives You Weeds, Eat ‘Em (Or, What to do with Lamb’s Quarters)

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3 thoughts on “CSA: What is Lamb’s-Quarters?

  1. Tammy says:

    I’m going to go online and look for some more good photos to see if I can identify this as a weed in my yard or close by. I’ve spoken with a couple of modern day foragers who seem to find it and use it often.

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