The Feisty Forager: Chickweed
March Madness — Day 1
Basketball fans might associate March Madness with the NCAA, but we in the American South know that with the arrival of March, our surroundings begin to explode. In fact we can count the number of hours before we will be overrun with poison ivy, stinging nettles, kudzu, copperheads, all manner of winged and crawling creatures who sting, and vines and weeds which twist around every plant we might wish to nourish in our gardens.
Fortunately, a huge majority of said weeds are edible. So why all the fuss of gardening? We could just as easily eat from the volunteer plants which surface in our well-planned plots and which we go to such lengths to eradicate.
One of these early arrivals is chickweed. A pea-green cutie with slightly succulent leaves and delicate star-like flowers, this plant loves untended soil, and will be glad to crop up in all your garden borders. If you have chickens, you can toss them handfuls, and know that your egg yolks will be the richer. If you don’t have chickens, you can pull handfuls for yourself, wash and chop, and throw in a pot with potatoes and onions and broth, and mix with a stick blender, stirring in heavy cream or butter just before serving.
Or you can toss into a salad (the flavor resembles raw corn), or use for a garnish to any spring dish.
Stay tuned for the next ingredient to typify March Madness. By the end of the month, you will be ready to rock!
For more recipes from the field and forest, check out Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America.