Huauzontle is often referred to as lambsquarters and that is a generic name for a family of plants that huauzontle is part of. The scientific name for huauzontle is Chenopodium nuttalliae while the common variety of lambsquarters known to most people in the US is Chenopodium album.
Think of them as cousins, rather than sisters. Huauzontle grows lower and more spreading, it puts on a great deal more seed and does so earlier. Native peoples of Mexico where this plant originated used the dried seed as a grain, one reason it is also commonly called “hairy amaranth” the the seed is much smaller than amaranth.
Lots of places claim to sell Huauzontle Seed but often it is regular lambsquarters, here is one place I know where if you order seed you will get the real deal. https://bit.ly/huauzontle-seed As you can see in the video at the end of this article, while the seed is sort of expensive one plant saved to seed will give you enough for years of replanting.
As a food this is one of the most versatile plants you can grow there are three primary harvests that can be taken.
1. Early and Young – Much like its cousin lambsquarters when young the leaves are delicious and similar to spinach. Huauzontle is a bit better in my opinion then common lambsquarters when used this way. The leaves have a bit more substance to them and taste naturally salty.
2. Mid Growth Seed Heads – When they first form they are delicious and sort of like a combination in flavor between broccoli and mild mint. A favorite traditional way to make them is battered and fried but they are also good sauteed and served as a side veggie.
3. As a Grain – When the seed is fully formed it represents one of the most complete proteins available from a plant source. It is easily harvested and you really don’t need to get all the chaff out of it since it is all editable. The best way to harvest both lambsquarters and huauzontle in my experience it just cut the seed heads off, and run your hands over the heads and hold them over a clean bucket.
On top of all this, huauzontle is really a wild plant, it has never really been domesticated, it is essentially what we often call a weed. It is largely untouched by pests and disease and will naturalize on almost any property with a long enough growing season for it to produce and drop seed.
Humans love it, rabbits love it, chickens and ducks love it. You really should plan on growing this pant next spring and you can likely even be successful with it in much of the country if you plant is now for your fall garden.