Thursday, April 14, 2011
Weeding Our Neighbor's Garden, Part 2 (Chickweed)
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is delicious and plentiful in the backyards of our neighborhood. When we can't keep up with it we feed it to our chickens and ducks who love it. It comes up on its own in the garden beds and is easy to identify. The stem when gently broken and pulled apart has a little 'string' inside. When the plant blooms the flower looks like a little star. Hence the name Stellaria.
My favorite Spring tonic! Chickweed is highly nutritious and contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. I have made a salad of only chickweed and dressing much to my taste buds' delight. It tastes just like a spinach salad without the funny feel on your teeth. I have read about large quantities causing stomach upset but I've sure never experienced it. Lately I've been making pesto out of it. Because the flavor is so mild I add Cilantro to spice it up a bit. Just combine garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper with your herbs in a blender. That's it. I make big batches in wide mouth jars and then freeze it. We've been eating pesto all winter this way. We put it on everything! We put in on toast, sandwiches, tamales, pasta, rice dishes, meat loaf, anything that needs a little extra flavor.
I'm not the only one around here who's hooked on Chickweed pesto on toast topped with a backyard egg!