Common chickweed

Harvesting Common Chickweed Greens and Flowers

When the hairy bittercress has gotten a bit leggy and unpalatable, the juicy, sweet chickweed greens are here.

So this week I collected my green bucket and some kitchen shears, then Beezus and I walked up the mountain to find the prettiest, most succulent-looking clumps of chickweed to harvest.

Bee inspects my greens
Bee inspects my greens

Chickweed grows nearly everywhere, and the greens are sweet and crunchy raw in a salad; I have read they are good as a cooked green, but I haven’t tried them that way yet.

Cutting off a clump of chickweed
Cutting off a clump of chickweed

The tiny white flowers look like they have 10 petals, but it’s actually five petals deeply split in half. Chickweed grows close to the ground, and you can see in the video below they tend to grow from a central clump. I was able to neatly shear this one away with my kitchen scissors, and harvested nearly enough for half my lunch salad with just this bunch. I actually spent a little more time foraging and brought home enough for about four salads. Lance and I enjoyed what we wanted, and the rest stores nicely in the fridge like any other fresh greens.

Along the way I also tucked some purple deadnettle tops and a few dandelion blooms into my bucket, too. At home I tossed the lot into a sink of fresh, cold water and rinsed them well. After a second bath I put the greens into a colander and went over them a bit more carefully to make sure I didn’t have unidentified plants mixed in.

Fresh washed foraged greens
Fresh washed foraged greens and flowers

With a little vinaigrette, some sliced almonds, and a few dried cherries (added after I took the photos), we had a lovely, nutritious, absolutely fresh lunch salad ready to go.

Pippi was very squinty-eyed about the whole thing, eventually opting instead to go forage for some crunchy, delectable cat food in her bowl.

Chickweed salad
Chickweed salad
Pippi sez no chickweed for her
Pippi sez no chickweed for her

Remember, some wild plants can be toxic if eaten, and you need to be able to tell the edibles from potentially toxic look-alikes. Always do your research, consult a local expert, and know your plants before you harvest or consume them. And only forage if there are plenty of the population to easily recover or renew what you’ve taken.

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