Actually, she's not so new.
She's been around for longer than most—indeed, all—of us. We've just been oblivious to her, flat out ignored her, or (gasp of horror!) done our best to annihilate her.
I, regrettably, have been guilty of all three.
But what's not to like about this chick? She's gentle and kind; a starry-eyed celebrity, in her own right; and quite attractive, into the bargain—Who could help but to love her?
Oh, come now; I know you've seen her around. If your thumb is even just the tiniest bit green, you will likely have made her acquaintance.
Her name is Stellaria Media. Or "Star-in-the-midst," when translated from Latin.
But around these parts, she's more commonly referred to as Chick Weed.
Last fall, in my ignorant attempt at controlling the chickweed in the flower bed up against my garden shed, I strategically piled thick newspaper around every flower root and bulb in the vicinity, then mulched with a heavy layer of grass clippings. How could I have known that, over the course of the winter, I would learn that this chick supports digestion and weight loss, reduces inflammation, fights germs and promotes healing of wounds . . . the list goes on and on . . .
She's also a nutrient-dense food, rich in beta-carotene, calcium, fibre, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and zinc.
Fortunately, the chickweed—undeterred by my best-laid plans for eradication—is growing well and continues to fling her protégé hither and yon :)
To date, I have used this virtuous weed in salads, smoothies, and—most recently—pesto. We found the straight-up chickweed pesto quite good; however, it did carry a not-too-subtle hint of fresh-mown grass, which we thought could possibly be enjoyed more in the dead of winter, when we might be craving that sort of thing.
However, last week I replaced half the chickweed in the recipe with basil; and PESTO! A more traditional flavour ensued—my precious basil went twice as far AND I still had the pleasure of the forage!
“If weeds constantly overrun your garden rows, ask yourself what those are and why they are growing there. Put down the hoe long enough to consider what the weeds are telling you.”―Sarah Owens
Perhaps, like me, you desire to love, appreciate, and utilize the wilder side of your own backyard, so I'm going to put in a plug here for a few chicks who have been an inspiration to me.
There's Ashley at Practical Self Reliance; Colleen at Grow Forage Cook Ferment; and Rosalee—co-author of Wild Remedies—can be found here. And I wouldn't want forget John & Kimberly at learningherbs.com.
Happy foraging!! :)