Chickweed

by Daisy on 03/27/2013

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Like most gardeners, I’ve picked my share of chickweed (Stellaria media) out of my garden beds. I’ve done it without even knowing what it was called or anything about it.  Never tasted it, either.

My curiosity eventually kicked in, though, so I identified it, found out it’s edible, and started eating it. It’s quite nice, mild, and, as all the guides will tell you, reminiscent of corn silk in flavor.  I treat it like any fresh green, tossing it in salads and sauteing it with other mixed greens to toss with pasta or put into savory pies/quiches.

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Nutritionally, it’s full of vitamins C & B, beta carotene, and minerals, too, such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc.

If you have so much of it you can’t eat it all, chickens like it, too, as the name suggests.  Let the chickens have the leftovers, but be sure to try a little nibble, at least.

Another chickweed, mouse-ear chickweed, looks very different. You can eat it, too, but its fuzzy leaves are usually cooked.  Here it is among the clover.

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To take these pictures, to avoid confusion, I had to weed the weeds. That is, I removed some of the other weeds, like henbit, around the particular weeds I wanted to spotlight.  Poor henbit, of whom I shot about 30 photos for another project the other day. I’m sure she doesn’t know what she’s done wrong.

It’s interesting two of the most common weeds in my yard seem so tailor-made for feeding my hens, that “chick” or “hen” is in the actual name.

Have you ever eaten chickweed?

 



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth March 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Interesting… tucking this info away in my head for later, thank!

Star March 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Thank you for the info. Your photos are great. Poor henbit!

Cinnamon Vogue March 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Poor hens. Dont’t eat their food. 🙂 My understanding is that any leaf that has fur on it should not be eaten. But apparantly people eat it. Certainly learned somethng new.

Lanette March 28, 2013 at 6:51 am

My yard, too, is full of chickweed and henbit. Unfortunately, my chickens won’t touch the henbit 🙁

Vicki March 28, 2013 at 7:07 am

Interesting! I have never tried it, but I’m adding it to the list of wild foods that I intend to sample this summer. Thanks for the info!

(PS – nice macros, too.)

guesthouse dweller March 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

Hey Daisy – do I have it in my yard by any chance? What are the 2 weeds that I pulled up for the chickens 2 weeks ago … I forgot what you told me! I have slept – therefore I have forgoten! LOL BTW I have a ‘weed’ or something that is growing all over the pool area and by the bridge area. I thought it was catnip – but it isnt. When you check on Prec friday – take a look – it might be something we can eat or brew for tea!
g

Daisy March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

g–Probably. The jumpy one is hairy bittercress and the other one is mouse-ear chickweed. Probably henbit, too.
I’ll look and see if I know what that other one is. I’m going to talk about bittercress soon.

Naomi March 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Interesting! Just only about three weeks ago someone brought a wild greens salad to an event, and I had my first (delightful, I might add!) taste of chickweed. You are right, it is mild, sweet and tender. No one should have any objection to this beautiful leaf in their salad. The leaves are about dime-sized.

Teri Melton March 30, 2013 at 8:26 am

I used to love chickweed, but have lived so long in dry areas that there is very little to harvest now. I am the only one I know who grows dandelions in a pot so that I can keep a good supply going. I think chickweed would make an awesome ground cover in a bed…

Emmett March 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have a can of Chickweed Healing Salve. Very good for skin disorders, skin cancer, cuts, burns, draws and poison ivy. Have you ever heard of that for Chickweed?

Daisy March 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

Emmett–I’ve never used it or made it myself, but it is definitely on my list. I’ve heard it is used a lot to soothe itching. Thanks for reminding me.

Ally @ Om Nom Ally March 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I love chickweed! I add it into salads sometimes if I’m low on homegrown salad leaves as it’s very mild and sweet. Mostly though I use it topically as a cream or poultice, it’s incredibly soothing.

Deanna Brown March 31, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have friends who make an infusion with their chickweed and then put it in their soaps. I finally now can identify it and am going to do it this spring too!

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