Chickweed is a common wild edible plant that is packed with vitamins and minerals. It grows in shady, damp, habitats. What does a hardcore macho, worm eating, outdoor, fungi, survival teaching professional eat for breakfast? Chickweed of course. Stellaria media, with its juicy, tender, slightly sweet leaves, and stalks. For a quick go to food in spring. Chickweed is an excellent wild edible plant choice.
There could be another reason I’m eating this 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 and great taste.
Stellaria media is loaded in vitamin A, D, (Great for the cloudy Oregon coast), B complex, C, and rutin, a flavonoid. Chickweed is one of a few potherbs that have good amounts of copper.
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?
Chickweed is loaded with chlorophyll. So the taste is very Green! The leaves and stems are juicy, tender. and slightly sweet when young.
I enjoy the big time crunch of this springtime edible!
Edible spring herbs
Foraging for salad fixings, I found a patch of another delicious edible spring herb. Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella). Just so you know, Sheep Sorrel tastes nothing like sheep, or chicken, for that matter.
But like all sorrel the leaves and stems are tart. Sour to the taste and make a terrific addition to any salad. Sorrels' tartness really wakes 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 fishless table such as mine was this morning.
Add greens to the cook 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. Or the a tea can be made from the whole plant to reduce stomach nausea.
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 in the shade, 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 internally as a tea, or 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 with its tiny white flowers. It does best in semi-shady damp areas.
An important useful plant of the Oregon Coast. Join us for the Oregon Coastal Useful Plants Course.
You can register for this class on our Oregon Survival School page.