~ Fat Hen ~
One of the most delicious and nutritious summer weeds is back on the menu!
(Chenopodium Album) Aka Lambs Quarter, Wild Spinach, Pigweed & Goosefoot.
As you can tell by the common names, this ‘weed’ loves to grow around animals, especially farmyards where you’ll usually find it. It always grew in my chickens run and even after them digging & scratching over the soil constantly it would continue to pop up every time I moved them off the soil. The seeds can stay viable for 30-40 years, so no wonder. In fact, seeds were found in a Danish archaelogical site dating back 1700 years and were succesfully grown in recent times!
This is a very abundant & nutritious plant, that we really should learn to appreciate. The seeds of Fat Hen have been found in the stomach contents of the ‘Tollund Man’. (A mummified corpse that was found preserved in a peat gog in Denmark, who lived during the 4th century). This indicates Fat Hen’s use as a food source by humans since way back then.
Fat Hen is apparently one of the most nutritious greens ever analysed! It’s rich in Vitamins B & C, iron, calcium, protein, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, fibre, Vitamin A. It has upto 43% protein by dry weight, which is amazing. Beats those supermarket veges anyday!
Fat Hen has laxative, anti bacterial & anti inflammatory properties.
There are studies supporting the use of Fat Hen for sugar imbalances and it’s also used as a tonic for digestion & internal parasites. It’s commonly used as a poutice for skin sores & burns.
In Rongoa Maori medicine, Fat Hen is cooked & eaten like spinach, then the cooking water is used, drinking it 3-5 times a day to treat boils & blood ailments.
You'll find the recipe for a Fat Hen Sautee on my website, where you can also download my Foraging Guides.
Fat Hen is covered comprehensively in the Hot Season Foraging Guide.