Wildcrafting Chickweed Pesto

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Chickweed (Stellaria media) is an amazing plant that grows all over many yards, parks, under trees, etc in Eastern U.S. It can be tricky to find because it’s seasonal, coming up early winter and then dying back when it gets too hot. So now’s the time to head out to your yard to look for it – you may be surprised by what you find!

Identification:

Leaves: Round, opposite leaves that smooth (mouse eared chickweed looks similar, but is fuzzy). The stalks are hairy.


Flowers: 10-petaled, white flowers, about 5 cm 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.

This tiny plant has many amazing benefits – it has nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs to thrive. Vitamins A, C, D, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine plus the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, sodium, copper and silica. It has 83 times more iron than spinach and has many medicinal uses.

All of this is great, you may be asking yourself, but what about taste?

Well, an important perk is is that it is also delicious! Chefs in New York City and Vegas are getting hooked on it . . . it has a leafy almost grassy flavor most people find pleasant. Not spicy or sweet, but an excellent addition to salads, burgers, and side dishes.

Other than straight from the ground, my second favorite way to eat this plant is to make pesto. All you need to do is follow a generic basil pesto recipe, but add chickweed rather than basil.

Chickweed Pesto

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add more olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Enjoy!

Ways to Use Pesto

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