Tag: chickweed

When size does not matter: a chickweed story…

Who said that you need to be big to be strong?

Or that size means everything when we get to being powerful…

Sometimes it is your personality, your character, your energy and passion all you need to shine in this world.

Today I want to tell you a story.

It is a story of hidden greatness. It is a story of a humble weed that hides instead great power. It is a story of Nature.

Join me this Friday too and meet my friend chickweed, a small weed which you probably would not even notice unless indicated but bearing the power of MotherNature herself within.

For recipes, just scroll down…

Chickweed and I meeting, a sad story with a happy ending:

I was in California the first time I heard about chickweed and its magic. At the herbal school they would talk for long time about this plant and I remember trying to impress its picture in my memory for future identification.

“This is a good one” I thought.

Then the herbal walks came. There were always a lot of people and a bit because of shyness anda bit because I always take my time when walking in nature, I was always at the end of the crowd.

So, when they were presenting plants, I listened but I did not quite see them during the teacher explanation. Most of the time I had no problem in identifying the plant when the crowd moved on, but not in case of chickweed.

Where was this extraordinary weed everybody was talking about?

All the herbalists I admire and read daily were and are talking about it….both as a powerful medicine and as a very versatile food and I could not even spot it…great…really…

Then I moved back to Denmark and after years of looking for it occasionally during my herbal walks, I decided that probably it was not a wild plant here…And I sadly thought that I would have had to live without trying it or experiment with it….but I was wrong…so wrong…

I just had to look down…not there, where most of other weeds are…lower, my friend… Chickweed definitely likes to play low, but it is there…and it is everywhere…how could I ever miss it?????

It has been here the whole time.. even in my backyard: suddenly it was everywhere!!!

And I was so ready to start experimenting with it!

Meeting chickweed, alias Stellaria Media

Chickweed is an herbaceous weed native to Europe but it is found all over the world. It can grow any time of the year and you can encounter it in gardens, landscaped area, pastures and farm fields. During spring and in the end of winter chickweed tends to grow in distinctive spurts.

Chickweed stemsbarely rise from the ground while new ones grow upward instead. Those are the ones you want to eat.

If you harvest them bare hands you will see that the plant is most likely going to break where the stem get elastic and closer to the ground, and that is a big help for recognizing the exact spot for cutting.

The phytocontent:

Chickweed is veryhigh in iron and zinc, higher than any of the domestic greens. It is also very high in potassium, second only to wild spinach, Swiss chard and broccoli.

Even though Chickweed has shown to have a strong antioxidant activity, the photochemistry of the plant has not been fully analyzed. However you will find that almost every medical tradition has chickweed as one of their allies.

Gathering and edibility:

Chickweed has four edible parts: the tender leafy steam tips, individual leaves, buds and flowers. But since its parts are so small you really just harvest them altogether. To harvest the best quality chickweed, look for plants that are not in their reproductive state.

How to recognize that? Plants that are in that phase present smaller stems and leaves or in general are not growing fast (because energy is used for seeding).

Look instead for big-leaf Chickweed. That is not only the most nutritious but also the most tender and palatable part.

You can eat Chickweed raw in salad, pesto (again) and in sandwiches, but also slightly boiled in stuffing or stir fried side dishes. It has a very mild taste and it adapts to a large variety of recipes. [1]

Why Chickweed is a powerful herb?

Its mild taste and small size could make someone underrate this powerful herb.

But read this, Chickweed is a cooling and balancing herb and therefore is a really valuable help in case of fever and infections!

In addition,chickweed contains steroidal saponins, that emulsify and increase permeability of all membranes, explaining its traditional use in dissolving warts and, overa long time (over a year), cysts and other types of growth.[2]

It also act as a mild appetite suppressant when the extract is taken 1 hour before mealtime.

It can be used as a poultice (just smashed and mixed with a little bit of water) or a balm for skin irritations, and the infusion can be used as an eyewash for soothing irritated eyes (I personally had a great success using the infusion for pink eyes…try and see!)

Using chickweed is completely safe and no adverse reactions are known. [3]

And now, as every Friday, the recipes!

The first recipe I want to share with you today belongs to the French herbalist Rosalee De LaForet, that this time decided to blend the gentle taste of chickweed with oriental spices in a Wild Green Persian Omelette.

Ingredients (for 6people):

  • •6 Tbs olive oil
  • 7 large sliced scallions, includingthe green parts
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g finely chopped nettle leaves
  • 30 g finely chopped chickweed
  • 40 g finely chopped parsley
  • 30 g finely chopped dill leaves

Preparation: Frythe scallions in 3 Tbs olive oil until translucent, and add the garlic and the spices for few minutes, then set aside. In a bowl mix the eggs with baking powder and salt and whisk them. Then mix with the finely chopped herbs and the scallions and spices from the pan. Add then the remaining 3 Tbs in the pan and cook the omelette in medium heat, covered until done.

The second recipe is Chickweed “polpette” and it is my own recipe. I love it and hope you will enjoy it too!

I used to make it with mallow flowers and leaves when I lived in Italy, but here in Denmark, chickweed is much more available than mallow, and I think it tastes just as good.

Ingredients (for 2people):

  • •200 g of chickweed
  • 2 big eggs 
  • Tbs parmesan
  • 300 g of grated bread
  • salt and pepper •50 ml bechamel
  • Seed oil for frying (optional)

Preparation: Boil the Chickweed with a bit of water for 2 minutes and set aside. Mix in a bowl eggs, parmesan and bread. Strain the chickweed well and chop it finely. Add it to the mixture. The dough needs to be quite solid. Spread some flour on your hands and form small balls with it. Fry them in some seed oil and then place them on kitchen paper to remove the excess of oil. Then place them in a tray, cover them with bechamel,and bake them in the oven for 5-10 min. You can alternatively cook them in the oven directly in the bechamel sauce.

And now enjoy…and let me know what you think!

Green blessings,

Beatrice