"I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but is it possible to make
wine with chickweed?" Gale Dennison, Shreveport, Louisiana
The common chickweed, Stellaria media, is actually a member of the carnation family. The small, delicate, reclining plant has small leaves and small white flowers with five, deeply cleft petals which instead look like ten petals. Although native to America, a species imported from Europe is actually the most common and is often found growing in lawns, gardens and flower beds. It seems to bloom constantly during the summer, with blooms opening around mid-morning.
Chickweed is eaten by small birds, chickens and people. It can be served raw in salads or cooked as a green. Everything but the root is eaten. A tea made from infused chickweed was once thought to cure obesity.
The whole plant, except the roots, is used in the wine. Bring 1 gallon water to boil. Meanwhile, wash the chickweed and thinly peel the orange and lemon. Add the peelings to the chickweed in a primary. Pour boiling water over them and allow to cool. Strain the liquid back into the primary and discard the chickweed and peelings. Add sugar and juice of the citrus and stir well to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and cover with clean cloth. Ferment 7 days, then pour into secondary and fit airlock. Rack every 30 days into sanitized secondary until wine clears and no further sediments are dropped during a 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten if desired and rack into bottles. This wine will not be remarkable until aged at least one year. Two years is better. [Recipe adapted from Steven A. Krause's Wines from the Wilds]
My thanks to Gale Dennison of Shreveport, Louisiana for requesting this recipe.