So it’s the end of May and the blue mustard is all bust dried up. It really does like the heat. Most of the plants I have seen have not only stopped producing delicious leaves but have started to dry up and the seed pods are even dry. This plant is beautiful and delicious in the spring but now it’s time to look for the new comers. If you want to try harvesting some of the blue mustard seeds for cultivating yourself you can look for the sharp curved pods before the plant breaks off and tumbles away to deposite it’s seeds. If on the other hand you are looking for something that is edible now there are many other edibles just starting their season.
I stopped using the term Lamb’s Quarters after reading John Kallas’s book,Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure Series, Book 1) where he gives a bit of history on the plant. Technically the plant is a spinach that was brought to the Americas as a leaf vegetable. The fact that it grows wild now does not negate that it is a spinach. the only reason is gained the term Lamb’s Quarter as a name is because farmers used it to feed their lambs which helped them grow strong and create lots of good meat.
The plant is also known as Goosefoot but once again, this is a descriptive name that is not official but simply used because of the shape of the leaves. I like Johns book and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn how to identify some of the most common edible plants and learn about how to prepare them and clearly identify them. His book will give more clear details than any other I have ever seen about identifying these edibles. I found some of this growing in a vacant lot near my home a few years back and due to it’s nature it has just grown more and more each year. I have harvested some from this patch several times this year. I finally decided to bring some home when I came by the patch after a rain and a handful of it came up in my hand with dirt, roots and all. I took it home and planted it in one of my boxes and after a few days it seems to be doing quite well. I’ll begin to harvest from this bunch soon.
I also have some wild spinach already growing at one end of my garden near my many sunflowers that are trying to come up. That is another story for later and is something I will work on this year. Wild spinach is great in so many recipes. I use it cooked, in salads and on sandwiches. It’s great in quiches and eggs or just cooked with onions and a little oil. This is one wild green that is available and delicious through the summer.