Common Chickweed, Mulled Cider, and Other Syndicated Features

A story about foraging common chickweed and a recipe for mulled cider are among the syndicated features U.S. newspapers have picked up from MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

| January/February 1979

  • 055 syndicated features - common chickweed 1.jpg
    Common chickweed is a sprawling plant with pale-green stems, half-inch leaves, and small white flowers.
  • 055 syndicated features - common chickweed 2.jpg
    The flower of common chickweed.
  • 055 syndicated features - mulled cider.jpg
    Hot mulled cider is a great comfort during a cold hayride. 
  • 055 syndicated features - cleaning wool.jpg
    An easy way of cleaning wool is to lay the item (a rug perhaps) out in fresh snow on a frigid day and have your kids stomp all over it.When you brush off the snow the dirt will come with it.

  • 055 syndicated features - common chickweed 1.jpg
  • 055 syndicated features - common chickweed 2.jpg
  • 055 syndicated features - mulled cider.jpg
  • 055 syndicated features - cleaning wool.jpg

Over the past six years 100+ newspapers have run stories from MOTHER EARTH NEWS as syndicated features. Here are three.

Common Chickweed

When most of us think about wild greens, we think of [1] something bitter that [2] grows away back in the woods and [3] can be harvested only during the summer. Well that's not at all true, and you need look no further than the common chickweed to prove it.

Common chickweed (Stellaria media) is [1] so mild that most devotees mix it with something more pungent just to give it a little flavor. The plant [2] thrives so well in lawns, fields, and vegetable patches that farmers and gardeners consider it to be a pest, and [3] It's so hearty that its vitamin-laden foliage can be gathered year round throughout most of the continental United States and in some parts of Canada.

Look for a low, sprawling plant with pale-green, tender, and juicy stems that are so thin and weak they break easily. The leaves are about a half inch long and a quarter inch across, have a rounded profile except for a rather definite point on their tips, and grow in opposite pairs on slender little branches. Small (a quarter inch across), white, star-shaped (five petal) flowers which open on sunny days and close at night are displayed by the plant: year round in the north-central United States and southward, and during the spring, summer, and fall throughout the upper U.S. and far Into Canada.

Pick chickweed by the handful, wash it and chop the plant into salads. Or cover stronger greens (mustard, dandelion, watercress, etc.) with water, boil them for 10 minutes, chop your Stellaria media into the pot, and boil everything for another minute or two. Serve with salt, pepper, butter, bits of fresh onion, and finely crumbled bacon. You'll have a dish that's as good as greens can be!

Best of all, chickweed is rich in vitamin C and can be harvested right through the coldest weather in almost all areas of Canada and the United States. So ... have a healthful and inexpensive winter: Serve up a "free for the gathering" chickweed dish two or three times a week during the coming months!


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