Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 00:27:14 -0500
Sender: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Deborah Duchon <antdadx.GSUSG.GSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Chickweed harvesting...
> Yesterday, my neighbor pointed out to me that I have loads of chickweed growing in my yard with the St. Augustine grass. She said it's an herb -- I always thought it was a pesty weed. Sorry, I don't have the scientific name for it, I'll try to find it this afternoon. What do you do with it? When is it harvested, before or after it blooms? Anybody want some? I've got SERIOUS loads of it...
Chickweed is one of my favorite wild vegetables. It has a mild flavor and the whole plant is edible and highly nutritious. It contains enough Vitamin C to be considered antiscorbutic (treats scurvy), and is also high in the B vitamins, iron, and the somewhat rare trace mineral copper.
You can harvest it by cutting or pulling at ground level. If you want it to grow back, though, pinch off the tops only. The stems are as good as the leaves. You can also eat the flowers and seedpods. Like I said earlier, the whole plant. Eat it raw in salads -- my favorite salad is chickweed and watercress -- or cook it for 2-5 minutes. It cooks almost instantly. Euell Gibbons (in Stalking the Healthful Herbs) tells about a very healthy family he knows that eats chickweed every day. They eat it raw in salds and make it into a "Green Drink" by mixing it in a blender with water and whatever other greens are available. You can cook it into quiche (cook first, then drain thoroughly, even rolling it between two paper towels to get out as much liquid as possible). Throw it into chicken broth instead of or in addition to noodles or rice. It's available year roud hereabouts, and can be found growing under the snow.
Medicinally, it is diuretic (mildly) and some people swear it speeds up the metabolism if eaten daily and will help in weight loss. I tried it and it didn't work for me, but trying it will do no harm. Externally, it is used in poultices and ointments. Some experts claim it to have mild antibiotic properties.
Latin name: Stellaria media, member of the Pink Family, related to carnations. --