Today I am bringing you…. another chickweed recipe. AND I have a final one – chickweed pesto – coming up for next week. I know other bloggers usually post baking or cocktail recipes on fridays. Not Rebels Kitchen. Nope. Here we just keep shoving weeds into people’s throats/kitchens/recipes/diet.
You see the thing is, down here in the southern hemisphere, spring is springing. And the wonderfully nutritious and detoxing chickweed and nettles will soon be coming to an end!
Funnily enough, it was my Dad who reminded me of this last week. “Better put some chickweed into that juice you making – it’s all gonna be gone soon. And you keep going on about how nutritious it is for you.”
This by the way is the same man who has been complaining about all the green soups appearing at dinner lately.
He is also the one who came up with “on this farm we are so green – we shit green”.
Which is by the way something that can happen if you eat a large amounts of green produce all in one day.
This was at that time a few years ago when the word ‘green’ was really making the rounds as a buzz phrase. It got pretty annoying (to us grumpy ‘green’ people anyway) and we started ripping it off.
Anywhoo long story short, this recipe happens to be super green.
a) It is made from weeds – which means no resources went into the growing – just you finding and picking the chickweed.
b) Like sauerkraut and other lacto fermented pickles, it is naturally preserved. Meaning that you can make a few jars of this stuff and you do not need to refrigerate them.
Health Benefits of Chickweed
The reason why I have been getting so crazy about cooking and eating chickweed this spring, is because it is literally packed with minerals. In fact, chickweed has been described as one of the most nutrient dense plants on the planet!
Chickweed Contains High Amounts of Iron
Chickweed contains high amounts of iron. How high exactly?
Chickweed contains 20 times more iron than beef.
Is that not too crazy? Calling all vegans and other iron seekers -chickweed has your name written all over it.
Chickweed is a Detoxifying Agent
Besides being nutrient dense, chickweed is also full of antioxidants and is considered to be an excellent detox agent. Chickweed is known for its ability to clean out and support the lymphatic system. Our lymph nodes are responsible for acting as the body’s filter for harmful substances, so cleaning them out is a core part of detoxing.
Chickweed is also considered to be an excellent blood and bowel purifier.
Chickweed Is an Old Time Weight Loss Herb
Besides cleaning out our blood and lymph nodes – chickweed is also supposed to be able to clean out old fat cells as well! It has been traditionally considered a number one herb for weight loss. A study done in 2012 has corroborated those old opinions by concluding that chickweed does have the ability to minimise weight gain, particulary in high fat diets.
Besides being known as a naturally fat burner, chickweed is also an appetite suppressant.
Chickweed Is High In Protein
So, besides being rich in iron, full of detox power, and being great for the fit of our skinnies – it is also incidentally high in protein. Chickweed contains 20 % protein. Which is pretty unusual for a plant!!
So, you can see why I am bottling up jars of the stuff. I want to stock pile up these awesome health benefits! And what is even more exciting, if you use the lacto fermentation style of pickling common to sauerkraut – you get even more health benefits…….
Health Benefits of Kraut
This is an excerpt from my other post on this style of pickling How to Make Lacto Fermented Vegetables -And Why You Will Want to!. The health impact of probiotics is directly extracted from that, but go check it out if you want to know more about how to do lacto fermentation for pickling.
Its Full of Probiotics
Sauerkraut and all other kinds of lacto fermented pickles contain probiotics. And as you probably know, science has recently been pinpointing probiotic bacteria as a set of serious ‘do-gooders’ in our bodies.
The Importance of Probiotic Bacteria in Our Bodies
While they used to be prescribed only after courses of antibiotics, studies are now suggesting that healthy levels of probiotics are vital to all over body health. This might sound crazy, but it makes a lot of sense once you take a close look at it.
Probiotics play a massive role in the uptake of food and nutrients. The are like the software of the gut, and are responsible for facilitating the exchange of substances into the body. The are like the workers, and the gut is the walls of the processing plant.
Proper uptake of nutrients is a huge part of good health. It does not matter how many superfoods we eat, if we are not absorbing the nutrition – it’s pointless! On the other hand, if we are taking up our food fully, this means that there are more building blocks and nutrient for the body to health and maintain itself with.
Probiotic bacteria also do a lot of the work involved for the body to carry out proper elimination and detoxification. Probiotic bacteria assist in making sure that waste such as faeces is excreted smoothly without conditions like as diarrhea or constipation developing. Certain probiotic bacteria also have the ability to grab hold of toxins and contaminants such as heavy metals and thereby excrete them out of them body via the faeces.
Probiotics Gut Bacteria Make up 80% of Our Immune System
Not only do probiotic gut bacteria make do most of the work when it comes to digestion and detoxification – they are also the largest component of the immune system. They protect us from ingested or inhaled pathogens by crowding them out from taking hold on our digestive tract walls. By doing so they protect us from viral infections, parasites, Candida overgrowth etc.
I always thought that the immune system was located under one’s armpits for some reason….! lol
Probiotic Gut Bacteria Produce Neurochemicals….
Yes, probiotic bacteria produce some of our brain chemicals. Like serotonin. Because of this having good levels of probiotic bacteria in our gut is essential for proper brain functioning and mood regulation.
This research is very new, but there are published studies available now, which are getting everybody very excited about this new scientific link between the gut and the brain!
There are many other areas which science is showing can benefit by probiotics such and cancer, heart disease, overly high cholesterol and allergies.
So ready to make some chickweed kraut? : D
Quick note on taste: I found that the chickweed kraut was similar in taste to sauerkraut. It has the same tanginess. However the texture is quite different. It is more chewy, and less rubbery than sauerkraut.
How to Make Probiotic, Nutrient Rich Chickweed KrautPrint This
- 400 grams chickweed
- Salt to taste
- 450 ml salsa jar
- A couple tablespoons water
- A couple flat pebbles (optional)
- Chop the chickweed up as finely as possible.
- Scrape into a bowl, and lightly sprinkle with a little salt. Toss and taste. Repeat if you think it needs a little more salt for your taste.
- Pack into your salsa jar, compressing down firmly.
- Add in little water, so that it covers the surface of the packed down chickweed.
- Then I like to take a flat pebble (sometimes one needs 2) and place it so that it keeps any of the chopped chickweed from floating on the surface of the water that you added.
- Screw on the lid and let sit for a week.
- You should take note to crack the lid once a day for the 7 days, and possibly after. This is to release any pressure which has built up.
IMPORTANT Safety Precaution
The last point above is very important. Once you have bottled your vegetables, you must be sure to crack the lids once a day. The reason for this is that as the lactic acid bacteria do their good work they produce carbon dioxide. This creates a buildup of pressure in the bottle.
If left uncracked, the bottles can build up enough pressure to the point that they can explode! Needless to say this can be very dangerous. So crack those bottles!
Storage & Shelf Life
Your kraut should last indefinitely, but will continue to strengthen in sourness with time. To stall this, you can refrigerate the bottle, but this is not neccesary for preservation purposes.