I did it! I did it!
I ate a lambsquarters plant! These things popped up all over my garden last year and I suspected they were an edible weed, but since I didn’t know for sure I kept pulling them out. Being a weed, of course, that did not deter them in the slightest and so I already have a good crop of them this year in my greenhouse.
Being the good student I am, I applied Linda Runyon’s instructions for trying a plant for the first time. These instructions are found on page 22 of her book “The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide”:
After checking your field guides,
1) Snip a piece of the plant and roll between your fingers and sniff. Discard if objectionable. If you like the smell, then rub the tiny piece on your GUMS, above your teeth.
2) Wait 20 minutes.
3) CHECK for burning, nausea, stinging, itching (all allergy results). Poisonous plants USUALLY produce one or more of these symptoms.
4) If no untoward reaction results, take another tiny bit of the plant and make a weak tea. (Place piece in teacup, pour boiling water over, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Ingest a small amount.)
5) Wait another 20 minutes. Check for signs of irritation. If none, then reheat the tea and sip slowly.
You know what? It was delicious! Lambsquarters will make an excellent addition to my salads.
Something else I found out about lambsquarters on the internet was that the roots (once you’ve cleaned off the soil) make good soap! I rubbed the tiny root between my fingers and it did feel slippery, like soap does, so I am looking forward to collecting a quantity of them and washing my hands after a few hours of gardening–which should be any day now. Of course, once my lambsquarters get bigger there will be more root material with which to wash my hands and more leaves to put in my salad.
I can hardly wait!