This month we are delighted to connect you with an herb a lot of people don't even realize they are growing. Stellaria media, commonly known as Chickweed, is a ground cover plant that starts to come up with the thaw of spring. As the common name suggests, it grows in a variety of conditions and is often pulled out of a garden because of how prolifically it volunteers itself.
Medicinally Chickweed is best known as a skin rejuvenator. Used topically it is a great emollient having cooling and drying properties. You will often find chickweed as an ingredient in bug bite salves or sunburn mists. The fresh herb itself is also great as an astringent and the fresh juice and plant matter can be applied as a poultice to draw out splinters (a helpful trick for anyone who lets their toddler help out in the garden).
If you’re not one who wants to take the time to create a tincture or salve, chickweed can be harvested and rinsed and thrown right into a garden salad or in place of sprouts on a sandwich. If you have a lot of it growing around you and don't want it to go to waste one of our favorite preparations is to make a Chickweed Pesto. You can save the flowers for the bath or infusing in vinegar for a salad dressing and used the rest of the greenery for the pesto.
3 cups fresh chickweed (washed)
½ cup sunflower seeds (dehulled)
½ cup parmesan cheese*
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup grapeseed oil (sometimes more)
Juice of one fresh lemon
*vegan sub ¼ cup nutritional yeast
Start with sunflower seeds, parmesan, garlic and salt in food processor and blend. Add chickweed and lemon juice. Drizzle grapeseed oil in while blending to reach desired consistency. Use on pasta, crackers, chicken or anywhere else you find pesto in a recipe. This can be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen in the freezer for up to six months. So simple, and SO yummy!