Cleavers, Galium aparine, are not exactly what you would immediately think of as good food. The leaves are thin and sticky. However, they do grow in abundance right now and are edible. When you find a patch, it would take you less than five minutes to pick enough for this recipe. They are particularly good for the lymphatic system as they are an anti-inflammatory and diuretic. They are also supposed to be good for arthritis.
When you cut them, the best description of the scent that I can use is that they smell green and fruity at the same time. Though they are edible, they do have a texture issue which is why this recipe is excellent for their use. I was hesitant at first to try it, but I would definitely make it again. It is very tasty, though the color leaves something to be desired!
Goosegrass (Cleavers) Soup Recipe from Britain
- 3 handfuls goosegrass (cleavers) leaves and young tip, chopped
- 2 handfuls mixed wild greens (eg ground elder, ribwort plantain, dandelion, garlic mustard, comfrey, deadnettle (any of henbit deadnettle, white deadnettle and red deadnettle [or a mix] will work), clover, oxeye daisy greens, chopped
- wild greens for seasoning (eg ground ivy, wild garlic, lady's smock, pepper dulse, Large Bittercress), chopped
- herbs for seasoning (eg thyme, lovage, marjoram, lemon balm, mint, dill, parsley, chives, yarrow), chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 tbsp oil for frying
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- freshly-ground black pepper
- crème fraîche
Wash all the wild greens and herbs then chop coarsely. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for about 4 minutes, or until tender but not colored. Scatter the flour over the top and stir to combine and form a smooth roux. Whisk in the vegetable stock until the soup base is smooth.
Add the wild greens and herbs then bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a blender. Liquidize until smooth then return to the pan. Season with pepper, to taste and allow to heat through. Ladle into warmed soup bowls, garnish with a tablespoon of crème fraîche and serve.