In celebration of #NationalEatYourVegetablesDay, this summer, I’m going to showcase some of the most sustainable wild vegetables that are available and growing all around us, most likely in your backyard, garden, or local park. Wild edibles are higher in phytonutrients—that’s antioxidants, and good, old-fashioned nutrients that are inherent to the flora—than most vegetables found in our modern agriculture, because they haven’t had the nutrients bred right out of them.
I’ve been talking about lambsquarters a lot recently because in addition to be one of the most nutritious plants in world, they’re in season and freely available across the country. Chenopodium album are high in Vitamins A, C, and K and are related to beets, quinoa, and spinach, which they out-shine in terms of pure green flavor and vitamins. Lambsquarters have triangular shaped leaves and a characteristic mealy white powder at their growth tips that don’t affect their edibility. Go out and try them, now.
I’ve made this yummy wild pie recently, but you can also use lambsquarters any way you’d use spinach, including in salads, although I believe that their flavor really emerges when cooked.
While I don’t expect everyone to go out foraging for their own veggies, perhaps you might consider getting a copy of a book like Eating Wildly—your armchair tour of foraging for wild edibles in New York City—or any of the number of guidebooks like Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus, the Peterson’s Guides, or Ellen Nachos’ Backyard Foraging? New York Magazine’s Grub Street just named Eating Wildly one of “12 New Food Books You Should Read This Summer.” Thanks Grub St., for showing my book some love.