Chickweed is a common wild edible plant that is packed with vitamins and minerals. What does a hardcore macho, worm eating, outdoor survival teaching, professional eat for breakfast? Chickweed of course. Chickweed or Stellaria media, has juicy, tender, slightly sweet leaves and stalks. For a quick go to food in spring Chickweed is an excellent choice.
There could be another reason why I’m eating a wild crunchy green plant this morning for my breakfast; my fish trap is empty.
But even if I was happily munching on roasted fish. I’d still be eating chickweed because of its nutritional value.
Stellaria media is loaded in vitamin A, D, (Great for the cloudy Oregon coast), B complex, C, and rutin, a flavonoid.
Chickweed contains iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, copper. Providing me with all the nutrients I need to start the day.
What does Chickweed taste like? Not like chicken you can be sure about that.
Edible spring herbs
As I foraged for salad fixings, I found a patch of Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) nearby. Just so you know, Sheep Sorrel tastes nothing like sheep, or chicken for that matter.
But like all sorrel--the leaves are tart, sour to the taste and make a great addition to any salad. Sorrels tartness really wake up those taste buds. Sheep Sorrel makes a great trail snack.
A Kingly repast
I then drizzled delicious extra virgin olive oil from our local food co-op on the salad. Then adding freshly ground black pepper to taste. And there you have it, a feast for a king. Or a pauper, or a meatless table such as mine was this morning. Benefits of Wild Edibles
Add greens to the pot
You can add chickweed greens to your survival stew just fine. Add the fresh cleaned plant to the stew just before its ready to eat. The greens will add a nice crunchy quality to the soup. A delicious addition to any camp pot.
As medicine, Chickweed is commonly used topically for cooling the body.
As an example; when you feel a headache coming on from stress or heat. Take the whole fresh chickweed plant. Grab a good handful. Sit down, lean against a log or tree and apply the whole plant to the forehead. Chickweed acts as a cooling agent. Use it on back of the neck, the wrist, or any other part of the body that feels overheated. Ah relief!
Chickweed can also be applied directly to minor burns as an effective poultice or refrigerant.
You can feel safe using Chickweed internally as medicine. Make into a medicinal tea by using a medium handful of fresh healthy plant, roots and all, cleaned, steeped, in 8 oz boiled water for 15 minutes. Take Chickweed as a tea, or internally as a general anti-inflammatory. You can get the same benefit by eating the fresh greens in a salad.
What distinguishes Chickweed from other look-alike plants is its one-side stem hair characteristic.
Chickweed only has hairs on one side of the stem. An important identifying factor to keep in mind when keying out this lovely plant. Look for Stellaria media in the early spring. Found in shady damp areas.
An important useful plant of the Oregon Coast. Join us in April for the Oregon Coastal Useful Plants Course.