Toni, I started studying herbs in 1977 and have both attended and taught countless classes since then. Chickweed can be chopped and used in a salad the way that lettuce would be. It can also be used to make a delicious vegetable broth. Saute a little chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil (the amounts don't really matter, it depends on your palate). Add a couple of quarts of water and LOTS of chopped up Chickweed. Bring to a boil, and immediately turn it down on low and let it gently simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain, discarding the pulp and use the broth as a soup base. It's reminiscent of chicken soup. I usually only use it fresh as some of its qualities disappear when it's dried. Fresh tea can be strained into a bath to help alleviate various skin irritations, or a salve can be made by infusing the fresh washed whole plant in olive oil for 2 hours at a very low (NOT bubbling or boiling) temperature. Again, strain out the pulp and then add some grated beeswax (one ounce of beeswax to a cup of the infused oil.). When it cools you have Chickweed Salve, useful for skin irritations., and great for sunburn. Chickweed can be chopped and zipped up in the blender with other greens and some water, or, even tastier, with some tomato juice to make a mineral rich green drink or a cold soup. I usually add a little tamari (a type of soy sauce ... in my opinion far superior to other soy sauces) and whatever culinary herbs you favour. It's great as a smoothie with pineapple juice too. (Just make sure you chop it up first so the length of it doesn't wrap around the blender blade.) Chickweed contains vitamin A, vitamin C, B-vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and fiber, CAUTION: I've never seen any toxic or allergic reactions to Chickweed but I always go on the assumption that any PARTICULAR person COULD possibly be sensitive to any PARTICULAR plant whether anything is written up on it or not so always try a little before you try a lot of ANYTHING. I found ONE reference that indicated that a VERY SMALL number of people (1-2%) may get a mild contact dermatitis from handling raw chickweed. In 33 years as an herbalist I've never seen this happen but that doesn't mean it couldn't. WAY more people get skin irritation from the psoralens in celery. You'll probably laugh to hear that I moved from a place where there was lots of Chickweed to a different part of the country that had some but not much and I missed it so much I ordered SEEDS of it to plant in my garden! When I moved to where I now live I had to get an allotment garden because my back garden was too small for my gardening needs ... the men at the allotment couldn't believe it when they saw me carefully HARVESTING (NOT weeding) the Couch Grass out of my plot! They got a great laugh when they asked me what the heck I was doing and I told them that where I'd come from it was a cash crop!. (used for urinary irritation.) Don't hate this little green, look it up, learn about it and USE it!
Stellaria media does not grow all that well here in Central Florida. But starting in January, I may find some. I actually encourage it to grow so I can have some to eat before it gets too hot for it. Clean, pick, then chop seeds, stems, flowers, and all, and eat as a green. Tastes kinda like spinach to me, but seems a bit variable depending on where and how it's growing. Some folks make a pesto of it.
Thanks to both of you for posting.
I know that many of our native plants are edible and many people use them regularly.
Unfortunately, the rest of us who only garden for looks just want a way to keep these tender morsels out of our flower beds. LOL
Chickweed would love to purchase this weed, so that I can juice it and put it in my salads, same for goutweed. The only problem I can not locate any where to purchase either of them. I dug some up from a garden and trying to make a go of it with no luck so far. Any referrals would be great. I am in zone 5 New York trying to grow on the patio and on my window still.