Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cleavers in the Soup Pot

As a follow-up to the previous blog on Galium aparine, also known by it's common name of 'cleavers', I decided to try some in a soup pot.  In my research, I found that cleavers has been used for centuries in herbal teas and as an addition to soups because of its high Vitamin C content and its many medicinal qualities.  The raw plant is inedible because of the clinging nature of the hooks so cooking is needed to soften them.  You wouldn't want the little 'cleavers' stuck in your throat. 

I cut about 3" off the tips of some of the young plants in my garden to put in the soup pot with chicken broth and shredded chicken breast.  The plant tips were already sticky, even at their young age.  Since I needed to boil the quinoa for 15 minutes that I would be adding, I tossed the cleavers in at the same time and cooked both at a low boil.  The cleavers made a fizzing sound when I dropped them in the boiling broth.  Could it have been from the tiny horns bursting?  Then I dished them all up.

The tips were edible, albeit tasteless (I expected at least a "green" flavor), but further down the boiled stems the hooks were still somewhat bristly.  Maybe just the top 2" of growth would be best if using it in a soup.  A more favorable use may be as an herbal tea where the infusion of the plants--either dried or fresh--will draw out the rich Vitamin C it contains and the other medicinal properties the plant has been known for in its long history.

I'm still intrigued by the red dye you can get from the roots, and the coffee-like drink from the dried and roasted seeds.  I'll be revisiting this 'wicked' but interesting weed again...

1 comment:

  1. This is an obnoxious weed that chokes out desirable plants. I've been pulling this stuff out for 2 years....I swear I can hear it laughing at me as it grows in new places or in places I have missed. It just showed up 3 years ago. None of my neighbors have it (yet) so it's up to me to destroy this invading monster!!