Now is the time for Lambs quarter, alias wild spinach. I was harvesting my domesticated spinach for a wonderful salad and in among the city slickers was a wild child. This delicate leafy green has been used as a substitute for baby spinach. We eat it raw or cooked. As a matter of fact I also used it in a spinach quiche I made the other day.
Just one cup of cooked wild spinach provides an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamins E, B6, thiamine and vitamin C. Wild spinach actually contains substantially more nutrients than cultivated spinach.
It has a more mild, less metallic flavor than mature spinach. Both the leaves and stem are edible. One of its characteristics is the powdery, grainy white coating on the back side of the leaves.
This is a very common wild plant (notice we didn't say weed) in the garden and one of our favorites. It loves to grow in tilled soil.
When I lived in Japan I once saw a farmers field of it that was over three feet tall. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was and that the Japanese actually grew it commercially. I later found out the farmer hadn't planted that year and had just let the "weeds" grow. So I had an unlimited supply. When it gets over a foot tall the older leaves can get a bit tough. Chop them up small or just harvest the upper more tender leaves.