You know them well, slinky little fellows that fan out where they emerge from the soil and clamber up neighbouring plants with velcroesque, hirsute bristles along the stems and leaves which radiate from the square stems and stick to your clothes when you brush past them.
Known under a variety of monikers from Goose grass, Catch weed, Grip Grass, Mutton Chops, Robin Run-In-The-Grass, Sticky-Willy and the rather lovely Scratweed!
They have a multitude of reputed health benefits and are a favourite springtime nibble for many wild animals and are apparently still used in some parts of Sweden traditionally to filter milk which in turn infuses with the plants medicinal properties. So what’s not to love about cleavers?
I wanted to try my hand at making fresh ravioli. I set about creating a simple dish with foraged Cleavers, Wild Garlic and one of my favourite cheeses from La Fromagerie which resulted in.......
Pea, Cleavers and Goats cheese Ravioli with a Wild Garlic leaf and Walnut Pesto.
The results are in and the general consensus was that.......
A- The Cleavers were a bit grass-like with an astringent clean green flavour.
B- My pasta was improving being only my 2nd attempt at homemade and needed extra seasoning.
C- That Wild garlic leaf pesto had a metallic taste and was no substitute for traditional pesto.
I am noticing a pattern as to why the majority of us do not eat these plants but I'm hanging in there with hope that I will discover the most delicious weed ever!