Fat Hen / Lambs Quarter
Fat Hen / Lambs Quarter(Chenopodium Album)
Today we had our favorite fat hen sautee for lunch, made with both fat hen/lambs quarter, and it's closely related friend magnenta spreen. The Magnenta spreen is over 2m tall in my garden and just going for it right now.
Fat Hen is a great summer alternative to Spinach. Use the fresh, young looking leaves in salads, quiches, casseroules, soups, stews etc.
I like to sautee leaves (you'll find the recipe listed as 'Fat Hen Sautee' ), and use it anyway you would spinach, it makes an almost identical substitue with a silky texture and almost nutty flavor.
The seeds are super nutritious and can be eaten raw or toasted and ground into flour. The stalks are quite fibrous and are best discarded, or at least chopped finely and cooked for a long time in a sauce.
Nutrition: 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!
Medicine: 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.
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.
More info and ID in my Hot Season Foraging Guide