Every time I head to my favorite little foraging spot it’s transformed into something new. I’m always amazed at the diversity of what is available so freely in nature! It’s got so much to offer, all we need to do is look around us.
Today, let’s talk about one of our favourite edible weeds. A super star – CHICKWEED.
This herb is originally a native in Europe with the scientific name “Stelaria (starlike) Media” or common name “Starwort”, “starweed”, “winterweed” or “birdweed”.
Key Identifying Factors:
- A sprawling plant with long, trailing, easily-broken stems, with soft oval shaped pale green leaves
- The flowers are white and tiny and occur on downward pointing stalks
- It has a row of fine hairs on the stem that occur on one side and swap over to the other side between the leaf nodes.
- The stem may be pulled so that it breaks around the outside. The center of the stem will stretch if it is chickweed.
Did you know that Chickweed is a very nutrient-dense? In comparison with spinach, chickweed holds up extremely well.
- It is 3x more iron than spinach
- Super high in Vitamins A, D, B complex, C
But wait, there’s more! Chickweed is also known for it’s healing benefits. The leaves are used to treat skin problems such as boils, scabs and eczema because it is a demulcent plant it helps coat and soothes dry or inflamed tissues. It can also help cool and soothe skin burns or skin inflammation.
Chickweed is also used to alleviate itching secondary to insect bites.
How to make your own chickweed salve? Simply dry your herbs a bit (overnight). Then follow these easy steps:
- Blend two handfuls of freshly chopped chickweed with 1-1/4 cups of olive oil.
- Place the mixture in the top of a double boiler, bringing the water to a healthy simmer.
- Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the oil to a bowl and allow to steep for 24 to 48 hours.
- Strain the oil through a double-layer of cheesecloth.
- Stir the rendered oil into 1 ounce of melted beeswax.
- Once cooled, the salve is ready to use.
Taste and food preparation
It could be added to your favorite salads and other dishes. It has this unique floral (mildly), the grass-like flavor just like corn silks, it’s delicious taste may be similar to snow pea sprouts and can be eaten either cooked or a raw variety of vegetable. Excellent in sandwiches, wraps, and salads when it’s raw and if cooked you may substitute spinach to chickweed.
Grows only seasonally in Perth late winter. It is a common backyard weed you will find in semi to full shade areas of loose moist soil. The delicate star shaped flowers are a favourite for fairy gardens, healing space and working with elemental beings.