On the forage trail: Fat Hen
Chenopodium album, commonly known as fat hen or wild spinach, is a warm season annual weed, and also a human super food. Fat hen is high in vitamin C, calcium, anti-oxidants, and protein, amongst others. It is fast growing and tolerates hot, dry conditions, but as with all herbs and leafy greens, young lush growth has a far superior flavour. Keep an eye out for fat hen growing in disturbed sites, rural areas and the veggie patch (be mindful of contamination in some locations, however).
Both the fresh young foliage and seeds of fat hen are not only nutritious but also full of flavour – not dissimilar to spinach and with a nutty overtone. Lightly fried in olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice springs to mind, or perhaps steamed and used as the base ingredient for a moreish dip with crusty bread. Really, fat hen can be used wherever spinach traditionally is. Fat hen contains oxalic acid, so best served cooked and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes beforehand.
Medicinally, fat hen has been utilised as an anti-parasitic against intestinal worms, and also as an anti-inflammatory.