Goosefoot - How to Cook and Grow

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Used more as a vegetable than as an herb, Goosefoot also known as Fat Hen and Lambs Quarter is an annual herb found on wastelands and farmyards throughout the British Isles. Goosefoot can be traced back as far as AD 300 and was particularly revered during the Anglo-Saxon period where it was eaten like spinach. Indeed it was because of the introduction of spinach that goosefoot fell out of favour. The name fat hen derives from its use in Germany where it was used for fattening poultry.

White Goosefoot

How to Grow

Goosefoot grows well from sowing the seed directly into the ground and thinning out as required. Flowering from June through to September it can reach a height of three feet with pointed leaves and clusters of pale green flowers. The flowers are known to attract the beet leafhopper insect, which is responsible for the curly top virus on beets.

How to Cook

As mentioned goosefoot can be cooked in the same way as spinach, it can be blanched in boiling water, sautéed in butter or added last minute to a soup such as minestrone verde. Always pick more than you think you will need as, like spinach it soon cooks to a fraction of its original size. Goosefoot produces highly nutritious seeds, which are a close relative of the American quinoa grain.

Content and picture © Miles Collins