Wild Chickweed Salad with Ranch-Style Dressing

Chickweed salad 1

All around the earth is greening. The forest looks lacy with new leaves,  and the pastures have begun to grow.  Not only have the summer grasses thrown off their winter sleep and have started to poke up their heads and send out new shoots, all the pretty weeds of spring decorate the ground between the trees.  Rosettes of plantain,  and white-flowered shepherd’s purse abound between the purple-tinged lyre leaf sage, the blood-red wild oxalis, and the buoyant clouds of chickweed,  studded with its small starry flowers. 

Everything outside calls to me,  the bright green between the flowering black cherry trees cries out for someone to languish there,  a book in hand,  in the golden afternoons.  And here I am,  armed to the teeth with mop,  broom and dust pan,  right in the middle of a spring clean.

I can only hope the spring will still be so green and lovely and languid once the dust settles,  because I am a big believer in the serious, move-all-the-furniture-outside, mop-the-knooks-and-crannies, once-a-year spring clean. 

Unfortunately, most of the people i live with don’t see the wisdom of starting a new year with no dusty cobwebs in the corners, and the accumulation of the previous year’s popsicle sticks,  chewed gum collection, and the moldy paper snowflakes from Christmas being cleared away. To them this week of cleaning is comparable to a natural disaster. 

Instead of helping,  they stand in the way of furniture being moved,  and protest that the crumpled piece of paper wadded in dust behind the couch was actually the best drawing they have ever accomplished in their whole life, and now it’s been thrown away the world will never be the same. It’s best to spring clean when they are distracted or out of the way, as they will be this weekend. Bwahahahaha!

 Even with all the busyness of callously tossing out my family’s most cherished possesions (actually I am very careful about not doing this,  but if it’s behind the couch, made of paper, and part of a giant dust bunny, it goes. This standard seems fairly reasonable to me.)  the chickweed has been too lovely and abundant to ignore.  In the midst of settling dust motes, I stopped everything to pick a chickweed salad. 

Chickweed salad 2

The nice thing about chickweed is that you don’t have to plant it.  Likely it has grown itself exactly where you would not like it to be. In my garden it is currently doing an excellent job of smothering out the fall garlic, but no matter.  Salad is an excellent solution. 

Chickweed Salad With Ranch-Style Dressing

1 bowlful of chickweed

1 cup cream fraiche (or a mixture of half yogurt, half sour cream)

1 teaspoon onion granules

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried if you have no fresh on hand) 

1 sprig fresh dill,  chopped fine,  or 1 teaspoon dried

Salt to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients except chickweed in a small bowl. 
  2. Chop chickweed into bite sized pieces,  and toss with the dressing
  3. I didn’t have any,  but this would be so good with crispy bacon crumbled on top! 

There’s a different chickweed salad recipe,  and more about eating weeds in this post

Chickweed salad 4

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