the leaves, stems and flowers raw in salads, sandwiches, or as a garnish. Watch for this potherb to emerge very soon here in the Texas Hill Country!
Named for the farmyard animal that
adores it, chickweed is a delicacy in more circles than poultry. A perfect
substitute for lettuce with its mild, sweet taste, chickweed is also rich in
iron, zinc and potassium.
Chickweed is delicate and
unassuming as it creeps and flows along the ground. Its thin, succulent stems
radiate out of a basal center and flop over, causing the plant to look like a
matt or tightly woven patch on the ground. A line of tiny, white hairs along
the stem help distinguish chickweed from other similar, though non-edible
plants such as scarlet pimpernel. The
leave of this annual herb are small, succulent, and have smooth, though
ruffled-looking edges and come to a distinct point at the tip.
Chickweed can be harvested by snapping off the tips of the plants or snipping with scissors or clippers. If the plant has spread far and wide over the soil surface, gather all the flowing stems into your fist and snip the whole bunch off. If some leaves are left on the plant, the chickweed will continue to grow and provide more delicious greens for your salads or stir-fries. Allow it to flower and spread seed for future seasons. Chickweed, like most wild greens, will benefit from hydro-cooling before storing. Chickweed will keep in a plastic bag or vegetable crisper for a day or two.