Sunday, 1 April 2012

local food: chickweed

Chickweed. Stellaria media.
We can't do a local food series without mentioning this humble plant.
At this time of the year (and in Spring) when it is still warm but with the damp from the dewy mornings, chickweed really comes into it's own.
Take a walk outside and you will certainly see it in your garden. If you have no garden to speak of, just take at a glance at the edges of your yard or in the more wild areas behind the house.
It will be there - chickweed doesn't disappoint.
I use chickweed in my salads all year round but really it is my staple through the colder months when other salad greens are limited. Chickweed on my crackers or sandwich keeps it green.
The ease of harvesting is what really won me over though- it is almost always in residence near the front door.
When I am mindful, I harvest with a pair of snips for a clean cut. It prevents the dirty, smudgy bottoms of the plant mixing in with the lush tops - makes for easier cleaning. More frequently I am doing a bit of gardening and I just toss a bundle aside to add to the dinner salad.
The snipping method makes for better photos.

If you are a smoothie fan, you can also add a handful of these greens to your morning shake. Just toss some in and experiment.
Chickweed pesto is popular too.
At times, I throw a bit into a stirfry right at the end to give a bit of fresh and raw to the main.
For those who want more, here's a nice link, and here for a great identification pic..

Of course, if you are a gardener one of the greatest benefits of cultivating chickweed is that you have an honest excuse for the lack of weeding when those inevitable Tidys come to visit.
Practice bravery - show them the garden with pride, pick a bunch of chickweed and rock their worlds by adding it to the shared meal.

written by Jacinda, also occasionally writing at

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