Foraging the Fresh Taste of Spring: Wild Chickweed Salad and Wild Chickweed Pesto Recipes

| 3/3/2017 10:17:00 AM

Tags: Natalie Bogwalker, permaculture, food foraging, seasonal eating, chickweed, Aiyanna Sezak Blatt, North Carolina,

Chickweed growing

After the long months of winter our bodies are craving fresh, local greens. One of the first wild edibles to appear in late winter and early spring is rich in vitamins A, D and B complex, vitamin C, rutin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, copper, and silica. This abundant wild green is called chickweed (Stellaria Media, Stellaria pubera) and now is the time to harvest and relish the crunchy, fresh taste of this nutritious plant, while filling your body with vitamins offered straight from the earth.

At Wild Abundance, a permaculture and primitive skills school in Barnardsville, North Carolina, chickweed is even grown in the raised garden beds. “I willed chickweed into my garden,” says Natalie Bogwalker, the founder and director of Wild Abundance and the Firefly Gathering, “and now it comes up with my winter cover crops without fail, and flourishes under my row cover with my kale and in my paths, which are protected by raised beds to their sides.”

Eyeing her bright green chickweed patch, she continues, “It is a funny thing to desire a weed in a garden so very much, but chickweed is a very well-behaved and generous weed. It doesn't seem to compete with my cultivated plants, and it yields a tremendous amount of healthy food.”

Juliet Blankespoor, the founder and director of The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Weaverville, North Carolina, adds that chickweed is also a valuable medicinal. Chickweed is “considered a blood cleanser and a tonic, [a] strengthening herb, especially after a long convalescence.” Plus, “chickweed’s nutritional profile is a boon to any diet. The fiber is a welcome addition to most Americans’ diet and, like all leafy greens, chickweed bulks up a meal and provides plenty of vitamins and minerals, while adding few calories.”

Since early spring is the best time to harvest this delectable wild edible, we at Wild Abundance want to share two of our favorite chickweed recipes. The first is for a fresh chickweed salad and the other is a preservation technique. Harvest, feast, preserve and enjoy the first crunch of spring!

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