Chickweed, as its name implies, gets classified with weeds as a garden pest, but this plant also makes an edible addition to your salads in the early spring months before other vegetables come into season. Chickweed grows low along the ground, with all parts edible. Its mild flavor makes chickweed a suitable substitute for parsley in recipes.
Look for healthy chickweed plants at least 3 inches in length. Identify chickweed as having long, hairy branches which trail. Examine the leaves for smooth-edged oval shapes and deeply toothed white flowers which appear to have 10 petals but actually number five.
Snip the chickweed 1 inch above the ground to encourage regrowth from the same plant.
Cut blooms off the plant during the harvesting season to encourage more rapid growth of the plant.
Continue to harvest chickweed from its initial appearance until temperatures reach above 70 degrees Fahrenheit in your area, according to Wild Food Foragers. After this time, allow the plant to bloom and naturally spread seeds for you to enjoy a fresh batch of chickweed next year.
Pick through your harvested chickweed to remove other plant matter which stuck to the leaves or hairs of the chickweed.
Wash and pat dry the chickweed, and chop as you would parsley, if desired.
Fill a resealable plastic bag with chickweed and freeze until ready to use as a substitute for parsley or as a fresh salad herb.