Copyright © 2007-2013 Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lamb's Quarters, Wild and Free

Spring Greetings from the hills!
Have you ever heard of eating lamb's quarters?

I hadn't until last summer when a friend mentioned that she likes lamb's quarters added to a pot of spring greens such as mustard greens, dandelion greens, etc. Interesting!  So, I learned to identify it (Images and more info are here.) and did a little research on its nutritional value and was pleasantly surprised to find that it's another free. super. food. to add to our foraging routine. It's off the charts in vitamins and minerals, in fact, it's really better for you than spinach. In light of that, I find it amazing that it's not lauded in health food journals more than it is. And lo, it's found in most areas of the country. We mow most of our property regularly so I found only one plant last year which wasn't a lot. I tried it and found it to be of a very mild flavor. Another thing I discovered is that it doesn't get bitter as the plant gets bigger. The leaves stay tender no matter the size. After emptying and refilling a couple of our raised beds with mushroom compost last month we found that we have a free crop of lamb's quarters sprouting & growing alongside our lettuce, cabbages and strawberries.
I've been having to resist the urge to pluck it out of the beds as it seems out of place among the other plants, but I haven't touched it.  I intend to harvest it as well. The flavor is very mild, something like asparagus, which lends it well to adding uncooked to fresh salads, also. The above portion of this post was featured on:

Green Thumb Thursday

See these gorgeous cabbage plants? Do you notice any of the usual holes from cabbage moth larvae?
The reason there are no holes is that I've had them covered with an old sheer curtain since they were planted.  They still get plenty of sun and the rain passes right through the curtain to water them.

It's working. I can't remember the source of that wonderful tip, but I'm grateful for it.

Have you ever whipped up a batch of homemade crackers?  I've made a lot of things in my time but never crackers until recently.

Our youngest made them and told of their wonders, and that got me rolling with the idea. You just mix up the dough. Roll it out in the pan you want to bake them in and score with (ahem) a dressmaker's tracing wheel then bake.

 I used a combination of flax meal and unbleached flour for this batch..

But my favorite recipe is tastier and great for snacks. They're delicious.  (See recipe below.)  And if by chance you forget and leave the salt out of a batch just eat them with small slices of feta cheese.  The saltiness of the cheese will balance the lack of it in the crackers.  Don't ask how I found that out. o.O


Homemade Fennel Seed Crackers
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup freshly milled wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • In a medium bowl combine the flours, flax meal, salt, fennel seeds and baking powder.  Mix to combine the dry ingredients.  Add the olive oil and the water, and mix until a ball of dough has been formed. Do not knead the dough; just mix until the ingredients are well distributed.
    Divide the dough in half or thirds depending on how thick you want the crackers to be.  With a pizza dough roller roll out the dough directly on two or three ungreased cookie sheets.  At this point you should cut the dough with a knife or pizza wheel to the size you want the crackers to be. I used a dressmaker's tracing wheel because I like to score the dough instead of cutting it completely. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until barely browned. Cool on a rack then store in a container with a tight-fitting lid to retain crispy freshness.
  •    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 One last thing before I go. For years there have been only cheap, small clothespins available to buy and use for hanging clothes out to dry until The Deliberate Agrarian recently took the situation in hand and made a supply like the one pictured below on the right. Read the story HERE.  I can tell you I was mighty tired of having my pins flip off the line after I had just pinned up clothes to dry. I'm really glad to have pins that are strong and American made by an actual person and his family instead of a conglomeration of money-grubbin'... well, you know what I'm talkin' about.

The new, stronger, larger ones are not cheap but they are reasonably priced especially after all the work involved in producing them.  Most families of four save $40 per month on their electric bill by hanging their clothes out to dry. That puts a different light on the price of these clothespins, methinks. I've had mine just a short while, and they're already paid for in electric savings. ;-)

Hope y'all are having a great, productive spring!
lilac
Linking with Homestead Barn Hop, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, The HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, From the Farm Blog Hop, FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop, The Simple Saturday Blog Hop, The Art of Home Making Mondays

49 comments:

  1. your crackers made me hungry! :) love the lilacs and wisteria, too. smart gardening with the curtain cover!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, T. I'm loving that curtain row cover.

      Delete
  2. Hello from Coolish and Rainy Michigan. I have never heard of Lambs quarters. Most interesting. What a neat way to protect your cabbages from bugs. I love the looks of those crackers. They look very yummy indeed. The clothes pins look very innovative. You are a very energetic person indeed. I wish I had half you creative ways. Hugs Judy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you have warm days and sunny skies soon, Judy. This has been the coolest spring we've had in a while, too.

      Delete
  3. I enjoyed your post this morning-my wisteria leaves are just now starting to pop open, my mom told me years ago about the curtains-love that tip too, and homemade anything is just the best-your crackers look delicious-love the idea on how you scored them-have an awesome week Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathy, I hope your wisteria does well this year.

      Delete
  4. Hmmm, looks tasty, your crackers

    ReplyDelete
  5. welcome back-I've missed your posts as they are always filled with great ideas. However, i am feeling just a little guilty calling my 5 tomato plants a garden-I did plant them around the compost pile so mulching them should be painless. I do hang my laundry and those pins are calling my name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaine, I noticed the clothespins are all sold for the present, but they may be available again in June. Five tomato plants sure is a garden!

      Delete
  6. I have been away from blog-reading for a while. I've missed it. Your posts always make me smile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LeAnn! It's great to hear from you. :)

      Delete
  7. Hello lovely lady! It's so good to stop by for a visit :) I have never heard of Lamb's Quarters so thank you for introducing me to it.

    Your homemade crackers look and sound delicious! I would love to try and make them sometime.

    I hope you have a beautiful week! Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Stephanie. I hope you'll try the crackers. They're fun to make.

      Delete
  8. So many great ideas and information! Love this post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ooh, the wisteria is lovely! And I am going to have to try and make crackers! I just pressure canned some butter beans and found a recipe for a bean dip that resembles hummus that I am going to make with some. I had to buy some crackers to dip into it and yours look perfect! Thanks for sharing your goings-ons... Long live clothespins :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, JES. I hope you'll share the bean dip recipe on your blog sometime.

      Delete
  10. What a lovely post! I NEED to make these crackers! Love fennel :) What neat clothespins...sturdy and substantial. I must check them out b/c I've had the same problem with them popping their metal spring. And, yes! We enjoy lambs quarters in salad and right out in the yard :) This years I have been weeding a very evasive little weed. It has a delicate little green rosette down on the ground and there is a 4" thin but strong stem that comes up from it (in its second or third year there may be 5-6 stems) and it has flowers and then seed pods that drop seed everywhere. I want to gather them all before they send millions of new seeds out to germinate. Have a lovely week. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jacqueline. I always enjoy your comments. I'm not sure which weed you're removing, but isn't it a challenge getting rid of them!

      Delete
  11. Your kitchen is such an amazing place to be! Thanks for sharing the recipe, yumyum.
    As for the lamb's quarters... I am allergic to it! :-( This innofensive-looking plant is the reason I can't full open my swollen eyes and my nose keeps running. They are in full blossom now alongside olive trees. I'm afraid I'll skip the nutritiveness of it and keep on eating my spinachs. Be sure you enjoy them instead! :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Alhana, I'm so sorry, I had no idea you were allergic to lamb's quarters. I promise not to mention them again! o.O

      Delete
  12. Hi Toni, I've never heard of lambs' quarters, but when you showed a photo of the leaves, then I think for sure I've seen this plant in our garden! Interesting on the clothes pins, too. We'd needed some for a long time, and last year I ordered some from BB&Beyond....pitiful! The rubber tips came off almost right away. i LOVE the looks of the bigger ones you showed. Thanks so much for the link!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for stopping by, Deb. I think you'll love the clothespins. They're so substantial, better than I expected.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love this! Would you consider linking it up at Green Thumb Thursday - http://homesteadlady.com/green-thumb-thursday-43014/? Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you, Tessa - I'm all linked up.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Crackers sound great thank you for sharing the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're welcome, Brenda, and thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for featuring me at Farm girl Friday...never been featured before;P...so I feel honoured:)
    Just came back into the house to have a little rest after being in the garden all morning, pulling up "Lambs Quarters!" ... I thought they were just weeds till I read your post:) I can't retrieve them back coz I gave them all to chickens...next time, it will be for us. I must come back and read some more of your blog post, it's been helpful:)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. Deborah over at the FarmGirl Hop
    http://deborahjeansdandelionhouse.blogspot.com/2014/05/farmgirl-friday-blog-hop-155.html
    is actually the one who featured your gardening post. I'm glad she did - it's a beautiful garden you have. Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Those crackers look wonderful and the sheer curtain idea for your cabbage is pure genius. That one's going straight into my homestead notebook for future reference. Thanks so much for the great tip.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi 'Steader, thanks for stopping by. Glad you can use the sheer tip. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've never heard of lamb's quarters. Those crackers look so good. I'd love to try the recipe. I like to hang my clothes outside on the clothesline on pretty days. Nothing like the fresh smell of line dried clothes and it does save on the power bill. Thanks for the tip.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for stopping by, Brenda. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I really enjoyed your post today! I will become a follower.
    I saved 25 dollars a month last winter drying our clothes in our basement. I was amazed at the savings.
    My FIL, who was raised on a farm, ate Lamb's Quarters.
    I also liked your cabbage tip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and welcome. Yay for saving money by hanging clothes to dry in the basement. :)

      Delete
  25. Hi, I love foraging and how you keep you cabbage from getting buggy. I featured this post on Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you will be joining us again, today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, and thank you for visiting and for featuring this post on Green Thumb Thursday.

      Delete
  26. Lambs quarters is one of my favorite wild edibles! Your crackers look delicious :)
    Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, I just read your article on Lamb's Quarters from last year and enjoyed it very much. I wish I'd seen it when it was first published.

      Delete
  27. I've tried lambs quarter in salad. Not bad. It grows in profusion here.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good morning :) I have started up another link up on our blog and am inviting you to link up some of your lovely posts. Hope you had a wonderful weekend ~ JES

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi, again! I'm glad I came back to re-read, b/c I had forgotten about the crackers! We love lamb's quarters and have followed you lead in leaving some in my garden beds :) :) That saves going out into the unmowed areas to pick! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've never tasted Lamb's Quarters, but would like to try them.
    I just wanted to stop by your blog and wish you a great day.
    I enjoy visiting your blog very much and appreciate your comments on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I LOVED to see your (western) way of gardening♡♡♡ Oh, never heard of Lamb's Quarters p;) Delectable looking cookies♪♪♪

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
  32. I've seen lamb quarters all the time but never knew that they were edible. The sheer curtain idea is brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I will try the curtain trick and also try making those crackers. Some good tips here!

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a great post!! So informative. I've never heard of "lamb quarters" but Lordy, I've sure seen my share... and have always considered them weeds...pulling them out. I'll have to give it a try.
    This is my first time visiting here... came over from JES's blog. I'm curious... What do you know about Lamb's Ears? as in it's usage for medicine or eating, etc.?

    and, these crackers. I've been thinking about making (trying to make!) my own and you've certainly inspired. I like the idea of scoring them with a dressmaker's wheel.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yes, I love homemade crackers! I'll have to put flax in mine. That is a great idea. I've been enjoying putting my laundry on the line, too, since we've moved here. My daughter is having a great time painting all my clothes pins. It is keeping her quite busy :) Thanks for the blog hop recommendations, I just linked up! Blessings, Jackie

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments!