A tiny little black seed that you’re probably only familiar with if you’ve joined our Winter Grain CSA in the past. Seems that lambsquarter is a commonly known garden weed, but a less commonly eaten food. But this hasn’t always been the case. Archeological findings suggest that both the ancient Egyptians and Indigenous peoples in North America may have cultivated and ate the seeds of lambsquarter plants. They are distantly related to both spinach and quinoa, and their leaves are commonly eaten as well, so we weren’t too afraid of keeling over when we first tried them (but we did send them to a lab for testing…just in case 😉
Every few years, it seems that lambsquarter is able to out-compete other weeds vying for prominence in our oat fields, and then we are able to separate the lambsquarter seed from our oats after harvest. It’s a fun little ritual – this food that no one has planted, but that really REALLY wants to grow, and then bringing it home to our kitchen. It feels like agricultural version of hunting for wild morels!
We have come to love these snappy little seeds. They add a touch of crunch and a very mild spinachy flavour to our roasted veg and soups. We love finding new things to sprinkle them on, and we chuckle to ourselves about eating weeds every time we use them!
The video below shows our 2020 oat harvest, and the process of pre-cleaning our oats, which is how sort out the lambsquarter seeds! After this, we run the lambsquarter through our line-up of milling equipment to remove chaff, dust, the occasional oat, and some wild buckwheat and other weed seeds that were growing alongside.