Spring is the best time of year for wild greens! They’re both nutritious and delicious! Chickweed (pictured above) is super prolific, and easy to harvest with a pair of scissors. It has lots of protein, a rare thing in greens, making it a great survival food to know about. It’s also packed with vitamin C, along with A, D, B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It's one of the first greens to pop up and one of the last to stick around. In milder climates, it might hang out all year long.
Chickweed's botanical name is Stellaria media. The first part of that (the genus), means "star" because of the way the flower looks star-shaped. The flowers have 5 petals, though they look like they have 10, because each petal is split into two lobes. This plant is in the Caryophyllaceae family, also know as the "pink" family or the "carnation" family. Gardeners often despise this weed that invades their garden, but it pulls up easily and is so nutritious and delicious, with its mild, delicate taste. It definitely makes a good case for the saying, "If you can beat em, eat em!"
I also like to add chickweed to my cough syrup and salves. It has been worked with for dissolving cysts, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss. It can also be applied topically in compresses for almost any kind of skin issue.
Let's get started with the wild pesto recipe...
Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives in rural Appalachian North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor's degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is offering nature and herbal education to create healing through connection with the natural world and each other. She is the author of The Forager's Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders. She is the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft, founder of The WANDER School, and co-founder of The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft.