Tag: clivers

Cleavers and Red Pepper Soup

Cleavers & Capsicum Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

6

Serving Size: 320 ml

Cleavers & Capsicum Soup

Ingredients

  • 100 g bundle of cleavers tops Galium aparine
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 medium size onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (long organic Romano are tastiest)
  • 1 red chilli pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 x 400g can organic plum tomatoes
  • 50ml elderberry pontack (or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (Encona or Tabasco)
  • 1 tbsp toasted seaweed (nori or dulse)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 1.5 litres hot water

Directions

  1. Rinse the bundle of cleavers and trim off the roots. If you have picked it carefully, you'll have all the roots end to end and can cut them all off with one pass of the scissors. If not, it may take you a while!
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic and onions. Sweat for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Add the roughly chopped red peppers and stir. Hold the bunch of cleavers over the pan and using scissors, cut them into the pan in 1-2 cm lengths. This prevents the stems wrapping themselves around your stick blender later on! Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1.5 litres of hot water and all the seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  5. Take off the heat and cool. Adjust the seasoning.
  6. When cool, use a stick blender to fully liquidise the soup. Or pour into a blender, liquidise and then return to the pan.
  7. Reheat and serve. Finely chop some wild garlic or chives as a garnish.

Notes

This is a low-fat soup and does not contain potatoes or flour to thicken it. For a special treat you might like to add a little creme fraiche or crumbled feta cheese but it's delicious without it!

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Cleavers, also known as clivers, goosegrass or sticky willies, is a great diet food. John Gerard, a 16th century herbalist, quotes Pliny saying ‘A pottage made of Cleavers is good to cause lankness and keepe from fatnesse.’ It is diuretic and particularly good for the lymphatic system. It is also a really good blood purifier, used by herbalists to clear up skin problems.

The tips of the plant are tender in the Spring – they can be added to salads at this stage – but their quickly lose their palatability due to the rough texture (like sandpaper) that develops. This is a shame because it is a really healthy plant to eat. I often juice it in my wheatgrass juicer and it tastes fantastic added to pear and ginger. But I also love it in soups, especially when trying to lose a few winter pounds in the Spring.

Cleavers

Cleavers just at the picking stage.

Herbal Power Juices – The Recipies

A “herb shot” for me is 20 ml in a 200ml glass of juice. Or around 30 ml in a 300 ml glass. All approximate as Paleolithic people did not carry a measuring jug around with them! I use 1 or 2 shots per glass depending on the taste of the plant and the effect I want to achieve. You can also dilute them. Goosegrass or nettle with lemon and ginger is very nice diluted with sparkling water – a sort of wild lemonade. For more on the benefits of power juicing click here.

HERBAL JUICE RECIPIES

Shot:  Clivers (also called cleavers, goosegrass or sticky willie. Use the leaves and stems)
Juice: Pear (or apple) juice
Dash: Lemon juice
Use:   Clivers (Galium aparine) is a great lymphatic tonic. It is alterative, diuretic and stimulates the lymph system and is used to treat conditions like lymphadenitis, tonsillitis, glandular fever, enlarged adenoids, tissue oedema and water retention. Historically it was considered one of the great ‘blood purifiers’ and used to cleanse a sluggish system to rid the body of “scurvy, scrofula, psoriasis, skin diseases and eruptions generally.”

Shot:  Nettle (Leaves – tops are tenderest, roots)
Juice: Beetroot (raw is tastiest but you can used cooked)
Dash: Ginger
Use:   Nettle (Urtica dioica) is diuretic (makes you pee more), very high in iron, and has an antihistamine effect. Nettle juice and nettle tea is helpful in managing a variety of allergic type conditions including hayfever, asthma, eczema and rashes. The root is also used to help manage the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. So for men over a certain age, drinking nettle root regularly can help to avoid the urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.

Shot:  Sweet Cicely (Leaves, flowers, seeds and roots are all edible)
Juice: Apple
Dash: You choose!
Use:  Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) contains an essential oil called anethole (as does Fennel) which makes it a soothing digestif for the stomach and helpful in preventing flatulence! It has an aromatic anise/licorise scent and sweet flavour. Sweet Cicely is fantastic cooked with cabbage or brussel sprouts (to reduce the windy effect) and when cooked with tart fruit such as rhubarb or gooseberries where it provides sweetness and flavour. Dried leaves can be used in tea instead of sugar and the dried root nibbled instead of sweets. This juice combination is the guaranteed favourite of the day in our Spring workshops.

Shot:  Wild Garlic (leaves, flowers, bulbs)
Juice: Tomato
Dash:  Cayenne / Tabasco / Wild Mustard
Use:  Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is a member of the onion family. A milder form of garlic which is a well-known remedy taken internally to help reduce high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries The typical ‘garlic’ smell is caused by sulphur compounds, which have beneficial effects on the circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems. Garlic (Allium sativum) is the most pungent and the strongest therapeutically.  This combination makes a tasty savoury juice. Wild garlic can cause stomach aches if taken in very large quantities.

Shot: Dandelion leaves
Juice: Carrots
Dash: Ginger
Use: Dandelion Taraxacum offcinale is a well know diuretic used in detox, weight loss and cleansing programs. Diuretics are also taken to clear sluggish conditions and skin congestion. Young leaves should be used as bitterness increases with age!

Shot: Mint
Juice: Cucumber
Dash: Ginger / Lime / Honey

Use: Mint Mentha piperita is a digestif that is soothing and calming after meals. Ginger also helps to prevent griping and nausea.

Shot: Parsley
Juice: Carrots / Tomatoes
Dash: Lime
Use: Parsley Petroselinum crispum is high in vitamins. It is used in Chinese medicine to reduce blood pressure. Parsley also helps the body absorb manganese, needed by the body to build bones, especially when eaten with shellfish and wholegrains. It also contradicts the smell of garlic so helps to keep the breath fresh if chewed after garlicky meals. Parsley, especially the seeds, contains apiole oil which is a diuretic and kidney stimulant. Another medicinal use is to stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area, useful for irregular periods and should not be eaten in large quantities by pregnant women.

These are just some suggestions. Experiment wildly!

I use a simple manual wheatgrass juicer because:

  1. It is easy to assemble, easy to wash, easy to transport
  2. It does not require electricity so it can be used anywhere
  3. It is perfect for high fibre ‘weeds’ that will tangle blender blades and burn out motors
  4. Everyone including the kids love turning the handle!!
  5. It costs under £30 (as of writing this)

So here is where you get The Lexen Healthy Juicer.

If you want to preserve your juices for an all-year round supply then consider pasteurising them.