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I'm thrilled to announce we now have an herb expert blogging for Pioneering Today once a month. Amanda is a wealth of information and has tons of articles at her blog Natural Living Mamma. I believe in using as much natural foods and herbs as we can, but I admit, I don't know nearly as much as I want too. So when I begin reading Amanda's articles, I was thrilled when she offered to teach me more about herbs, and you guys! You can find her page on Facebook, too.
Amanda, take it away.
I love summer. The garden is bursting with all of its delicious abundance and so is the yard! I am one of those folks who finds myself enjoying not only the bounty of my cultivated plants, but the plants in my yard that most would call “weeds”. Yes weeds. You would be shocked at the plants in your vicinity that you might have once thought of as pesky weeds, that are actually highly nutritious and good for you!
I find the plants that appear in mass quantities around me tend to be the plants I need in my life and in my body at that time. This year my yard is rife with lambs quarters.
Lambsquarters are one of the most nutritionally dense super foods around. The leaves cook up like spinach, only this spinach can out spinach spinach. Wild Man Steve Brill says “ It’s one of the best sources of beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, and iron in the world; also a great source of trace minerals, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and fiber. “(source) Here is a great two minute video about how to identify lambsquarters.
*Note* If you decide to start eating the weeds from your yard or your neighborhood be sure to follow a few safety precautions that I have outlined in this post. Namely, be sure no animal waste is ever near the plants you are planning to eat, do not spray pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides near anything you plan to ingest, and ALWAYS properly identify the plants you plan to eat. Never harvest within 100 feet of roadways. Do not ingest anything you are not 100% sure of the identity of.
In my garden my basil is more of a bush than a simple herb. The plants have gotten huge and I have a lot of them because they keep certain pests out of my garden.
So with my abundance of basil and lambs quarters I make a simple but delicious pesto that goes well just about anywhere. I love it on quiona noodles, homemade pizza, as a dip for lunch meats or cheese, as a marinade for chicken, and pretty much anywhere I can. I love the herbaceous flavor with a kick of garlic, and the potent nutrients I get when I eat it.
1 C Loosely packed basil
1 C Loosely packed Lambs Quarters
3-6 Cloves of garlic to taste
¾-1 C Olive Oil
Place the ingredients in the blender or magic bullet and blend until a nice smooth consistency. If it doesn’t blend well, add a little bit of olive oil at a time until it starts blending well. It takes about 2-3 minutes to reach the correct consistency in my magic bullet.
You may ask why I don’t include pine nuts in my recipe. I tend to try to stick to foods that are local to me, and affordable to eat. Pine nuts are expensive and difficult to digest. I don’t think this recipe is lacking anything without it, but you can feel free to add 1/3 c of pine nuts if you like.
If you don’t have an abundance of lambs quarters in your yard, you can just replace that quantity with more basil, or use some other wonderful weeds from your yard. Some other favorites that are fun to play with are young dandelion greens, plantain, mallow, chard, beet greens, kohlrabi greens, and calendula greens.
I used this pesto as the sauce on my homemade pizza. I topped it with zucchini slices, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Pesto is a great versatile item to have on hand. Happy making!
This recipe is featured on Tasty Traditions[BoilerPlate plate=”Heirloom Gardening Guide” search=”replace”]
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.