Fat Hen (Chenopodium album)

Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and potassium...

 

   
 
 


Fat Hen, also known as Lamb's Quarters, Melde and Goosefoot, is cultivated as a grain and vegetable crop, as well as animal feed, in Asia and Africa, but in Europe and North America it is regarded as a weed.

The leaves and young shoots can be eaten as a leaf vegetable, steamed like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid. Yoghurt helps to neutralise this plantís oxalic acid.

 
 
 
   

 

 

Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The leaves can have up to 950μg of vitamin A per 100g. You need around 800μg of vitamin A per day. Watch the video from Green Deane of Eat The Weeds. He shows how to recognise the plant and collect the seeds and how to avoid look-alikes like black nightshade.

Archaeologists analysing carbonized plant remains found Fat Hen seeds in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age and Roman sites in Europe. The Fat Hen seeds were mixed with conventional grains. The seeds have also been found inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies.

 

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) which is grown for its seeds, is closely related to Fat Hen.

 
 

Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Caryophyllidae: Caryophyllales: Chenopodiaceae: Chenopodium: Chenopodium album