Tag Archives: chickweed

P.E.M.U. 0002 – Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

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New to P.E.M.U.? Start here: https://bigpigblog.com/2015/03/20/p-e-m-u-project/ Do the work!! Use a good field guide for identification and start your journey. Items in “bold” are first hand experience.

This week’s featured plant is another yard food, Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

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Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Family – Page 114 of Botany in a Day – Elpel

Identification – Page 274 of Newcomb’s

  • Single line of hairs down stem
  • Sap not milky

P – oisonous

  • Can be distinguished from poisonous look-a-likes by absence of milky sap 

E – dible

  • Raw
  • Cooked
  • Pesto
  • Cream soup

M – edicinal

  • Skin poultice
  • Skin ointment
  • Tea for coughs

U – seful

  • Weather indicator 

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Chickweed pesto… chickweed, olive oil, some garlic, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, and salt

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Resources: 

PFAF – http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Stellaria+media

Eat The Weeds – http://www.eattheweeds.com/chickweed-connoisseurs-2/

Interested in learning more about the Poisonous, Edible, Medicinal, and Useful plants around us? Check out BPO’s foraging classes http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/poisonous–edible–medicinal—-useful-plants.html

The Finest Wildfood in North Carolina..

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After having a great time at last year’s West Virginia Wildfood Weekend,     https://bigpigblog.com/2013/09/25/west-virginia-wild-food-weekend/, I have decided to make visiting a regional wildfood festival an annual trip. My son is due somewhere in August, and being new to fatherhood, my wife politely informed me that post August is a “No-travel” time for us. No big deal as the North Carolina Wildfood Festival was this past weekend.     http://ncwildfoodsweekend.com/

 

This was the 39th year for the festival and both my wife and I felt it was very well organized and run. We were only able to attend the Saturday events and missed out on Sam Thayer’s 2-part presentation on Friday evening on making maple syrup, but got to hear some of his tips during his plant walk in the morning.

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There were six different leaders for the foraging walks, some with 38 years of attendance under their belt. After the morning foraging trip and lunch, all participants gathered into separate groups to process and prepare the evening meal. The simple rule is “You gotta work, if you want to eat.” and the leader of each group handed out a meal card after the prep time. My wife and I worked on the Vegetable crew, processing and cooking pokeweed, bamboo shoots, day lilies, chickweed, sheperd’s purse, and greenbrier tips.

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The other groups were Appetizers, Salads, Desserts, Beverages, Meats, and Breads, and I rolled around to each snapping pics when I could.

Daylily shoots being processed for stir-fry…

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Pokeweed, chickweed, sheep sorrel, and various flowers  being processed…

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Guest speaker and author, Leda Meredith hard at work…

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Ramp time…

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Thistle stalks before frying…

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Bamboo-pokeweed spring rolls…

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The meat brigade..

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The Wildfood Feast kicked off around 6:30 and saying it was impressive would be an understatement. Somewhere between round one and two, my phone must have got a little greasy.

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I made three trips through so I could try everything and was stuffed. My wife’s top pick was the Wildflower Scone and my sweet tooth picked the persimmon ice cream. Dinner wound down and the evening speaker was Leda Meredith, a well known forager and food preservation specialist. Her speech inspired my wife and I to start storing more of our harvest from foraging.

I walked away with her book, Northeast Foraging, http://www.amazon.com/Northeast-Foraging-flavorful-edibles-wineberries/dp/1604694173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736119&sr=8-1&keywords=leda+meredith, that I bought specifically for the preservation tips specific to each species. We also bought some spiles and a half gallon of maple syrup off the Thayers, learned a few new plants, but most importantly met some great new friends that we will be returning to visit with from here on out.

Thanks to all the organizers, leaders, and participants for a great event.

Wild About My Dinner…

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I love my wife for more reasons than I can count..

She puts up with me skinning and butchering critters on the front porch, even though she is a vegetarian/animal lover. She doesn’t mind the goldenrod and mint hanging from the curtain rods to dry out in the living room right now. Sometimes, she kindly reminds me that I need to hit the showers after a few days running around in the woods. This week, when I came home with a couple squirrels and some foraged edibles, she broke out her culinary prowess for a delicious wild meal.

I am probably butchering the description, but the above is honey and balsamic glazed squirrel on a bed of wilted chickweed and chicken of the woods mushrooms. The side is jerusalem artichoke and evening primrose “mashed potatoes”.

Truth be told, my foraging has picked up tenfold since I met her. My lack of kitchen skills had led me down the path of a meat and cereal diet for a few years until she rescued me. I still eat plenty of meat, but my diet is more varied now and it has opened up a new level for foraging.

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Desert… Two days ago, I had gathered forty pounds of pears from a “feral” tree growing wild by the lake and used my frog gig to knock down some persimmons that were out of reach. Freezing the pears and persimmons, she broke out the Vita-mix , some coconut sugar, and added some frozen pawpaws to make a sorbet topped with candied black walnuts for another home run. The walnuts by themselves would be a treat.

So thanks to my wife for a great “wild” meal and for everything she does for me.

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I ran out of bags to fill from this tree!!

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