Historically in Quebec, lamb’s quarters were eaten when other food sources became scarce. When spring took a while to show up but the root cellar was already empty, people would harvest young shoots and leaves to make a highly nutritional soup nicknamed “fat-hen soup”. Of course there was no hen or chicken in this soup! The cook’s pride was saved.
Annual edible plant from the Amaranthaceae family. The nickname ‘fat hen’ comes from the similarity between the leave shape and poulty feet. Gradually, Chenopodium album conquers wasteland, gardens, fields, and even continents. It’s everywhere! This “weed” nonetheless has several interesting properties.
It’s very rich in calcium, proteins, vitamins A, B and C, phosphorus, and iron. Usually, the young leaves and stems are harvested for eating. However, just like spinach, lamb’s quarters are rich in oxalic acid, so it wise to not eat it in every meal. The seeds are also edible, but again should be eaten with moderation as they contain saponins.
Easy to freeze and to throw in several recipes. To try in pestos and soups.
The name “chou gras” in French is at the origin of the common expression “jeter ses choux gras” (throwing away its choux gras), meaning to be wasteful.
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Latin name : Chenopodium album
Common names : Lamb’s quarters, Melde, Goosefoot, Fat-hen
French : Chénopode blanc, Ansérine blanche, Poulette grasse, Chou gras
Family : Amaranthaceae
Plant type : Annual
Habit : Herbaceous, shrubby
Height : 0.3 to 1.4 m
Width : 0.4 to 0.6 m
Harvest time : All summer for young leaves and stems, in the fall for the seeds
Sowing : Directly outside in the spring or the fall
Depth : Cover lightly
Germination : 2 to 5 weeks
Soil : Any type, as long as it’s not too dry
Exposure : Sunny to part-shade
Plant spacing : Broadcast seeding, then thin out
Watering : Barely
Care and other considerations : Doesn’t need any fertilizer. Harvest the ripe flowers regularly to prevent the plant from becoming invasive. If you wish to harvest the seeds, cut off the whole stems right before the seeds turn brown and leave them to to dry on a plate.
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- Nous nous engageons à remplacer tout sachet de semences qui poserait problème.
- La germination ne dépend pas uniquement de la qualité de nos semences, mais nous sommes prêts à vous conseiller si vous éprouvez des problèmes.