This morning I planted a dozen Strawberry Spinach seeds in pots. This is one of our native Chenopodiums, which are all edible. It is naturalized throughout North America, Europe and New Zealand of nutrition and easy to sprout.
I started their cousin, Lamb’s Quarters, 2 years ago, and am having good luck with them. I hope these also do well. I have eaten these wild in Oregon and like the flavor. I eat Strawberry Spinach fresh in salad, and they make a good pot herb, but I prefer stir fry. Cooking breaks down oxalates, and for those who are prone to stones… best to cook them. Recent research shows no correlation between dietary oxalates and stones, but follow your doctor’s advice.
Chenopodiums like Strawberry Spinach, are nutritious greens with Vitamin A and C. Use it in place of its cousin Spinach in any recipe. Note that Spinach is also high in oxalates. Strawberry Spinach is more heat tolerant than Spinach, and goes to seed later in the summer. Chenopodiums are a huge edible family including beets, Good King Henry, and Quinoa. If you can only identify one family in the wild, this would be a good one to learn.
The seeds are high in saponins (a natural soap) and can be soaked overnight to remove them, then dried and ground into flour. I prefer to just sprout them and eat as microgreens. Much higher level of nutrition and still loses the saponins.
Although I will sprout 12 pots indoors, I will sow the rest of the seeds in situ in the garden. I look forward to these naturalizing in my circular economy and food forest. These pretty plants are also used as a flashy annual in flower gardens. The flower isn’t as big a draw as the red berries. First the butterfies, then the birds love then, but rabbits may eat them to the ground.
I will get my Strawberry Spinach started in ceramic pots and seeded around the blackberry vines, where they will cover the lower part of ugly vine and add another layer of nutrition.