Happy chickweed season everyone!
I first read about this mineral rich plant in one of Susun Weed’s classic books, and first tried it one day years ago when Kiva and I were out in the White Mountains of Arizona on a plant expedition together. I remember how excited she was to find it, and how much I wanted to like it, but feeling rather “ho hum” about the flavor once I tasted it. It seemed to me a bit flat, not so interesting.
But, happily, like many of the flavors of the wild plant world, I’ve found that chickweed can definitely be an acquired taste! While I was living at the “Orange House” (as many of us grew to call our community household on Orange Avenue here in Ashland, OR) I made it a practice to try to eat a raw handful of it every day or two, because there was so much growing there, and I knew it was so good for me! But yeah, it was an effort.
This spring, it’s funny, I’m finding that I’m actually craving it. Whenever I stop by to say hello to the new folks at the Orange House, I gather up a big bowlful to take with me and add to whatever I’m eating that day. Here’s the breakfast I made for me and my friend and musical partner James in my new/old van a few mornings ago. At the moment we’re living in our vehicles in the front yard of my friend Victor’s house, working on making music and our Fir Oil, Wine, Truffles and other Fir-y preparations in his house while he’s away at work, and house sitting for him on the weekends. We ate it with toast and over easy eggs, and the salsa Marcus and I made and canned last summer. The Jerusalem Artichokes were a gift from my friend Albert, who often seems to have something nice from his garden to offer me– another healthy whole food that for me has also become an acquired taste!
Just after we started eating this, sitting on the edge of the open van, a hailstorm began, and the hail began coming all the way into the bed in the back! So the rest of the meal we ate, cozily inside, to the drumming of the hail on the roof!
So, whether you think chickweed is rather “ho-hum”, or if you already love it, here’s a wonderful, simple preparation to try!
Chickweed Sunchoke Stir Fry
1 big bunch chickweed, rinsed and chopped up a bit
2-3 sunchokes, sliced thinly (or substitute 1 large carrot or parsnip, sliced)
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small jalapeño, sliced, or minced if it’s very spicy
1/2 onion, small dice
2-3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt (to your taste)
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
Heat the coconut oil in a 10-12″ skillet over medium heat, and add the diced onions, sunchokes (or other root vegetable), and half of the salt just before the oil gets very hot. Once the sunchokes taste almost done, add the sliced zucchini. Stir and cook for a minute or two, then add the chickweed, the rest of the salt, and the rosemary. Keep stirring, and turn off the heat as soon as the chickweed is thoroughly wilted, which will happen quickly. Serve at once, preferably with Swiss cheese toast sprinkled with rosemary, over easy eggs, and some really good salsa!
From a post by Diane Kaniecki: Chickweed contains minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, silica, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, niacin, and vitamin C. Chickweed is taken by mouth to treat stomach problems, intestinal complaints such as constipation, disorders of the blood, arthritis, lung diseases including asthma, kidney disorders, inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, rabies, and scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is also used to relieve extreme exhaustion. Chickweed is applied on the skin to relieve various skin conditions such as skin wounds, ulcers, burns, arthritis pain and symptoms of eczema.