Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a sprawling, delicious highly nutritious plant common in yards and gardens across the United States as well as in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. There are some related, edible species as well with between 90 and 120 species in the genus Stellaria.
Leaves: Round, opposite leaves that smooth (mouse eared chickweed looks similar, but is fuzzy).
Stem: Slightly hairy. The stem is often green on one side, purple on the other.
Flowers: 10-petaled, white flowers, about 5 mm across. Ten stamens with light yellow, greenish, or reddish anthers. Flower stalks are hairy.
Height: Five to 50 cm tall, usually sprawling out on the grown like a mat.
Habitat: Chickweed is a common lawn and garden weed, can grow in waste soils, and forests. It also grows in Europe.
Chickweed is often considered a weed by gardeners, but this nutritional powerhouse only becomes more nutrient-dense when mowed. So, cut it back and then in a couple of weeds, harvest the new growth for a salad, smoothie, or pesto.
Chickweed grows mostly in the cold season of the year, starting in early fall and dying back mid-summer, depending on your particular geographical area. In the winter, you can go out and clip bowls full of clean, fresh greens very quickly if you let this plant grow in your yard.
It’s healthiest raw, but you can add it to soups and stews or cook it down as a cooked green.
Chickweed pesto is a common way to eat chickweed you can follow and pesto recipe and just replace the basil with chickweed. This is the recipe I use:
- 1/2 Cup Almonds
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 3 Cups Chickweed
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Optional
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan or Asiago Cheese
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
- Add more olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency.
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Chickweed is a firm favourite around at ours. You need to check this article for typos as it sprawls on the ground and the flowers are certainly not 5cm across. 5mm is more like it. I teach beginners to gently break the stem to look for the stretchy elastic filament inside. This avoids confusion with poisonous lookalikes.
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