Weed of the week: Sticky Weed
Sticky weed could not have been more appropriately named; this plant’s most significant physical attribute is its ability to attach itself unreservedly to pretty much anything. Galium aparine is a common and widespread weed that grows in a range of climates excepting tropical, and has a list of culinary and medicinal uses both fascinating and impressive. Did you know for instance, that the seeds from this herbaceous annual can be used to make a coffee substitute, one which actually contains caffeine? Or that back in the day sticky weed was used as a deodorant, to stuff mattresses, and to strain animal hair out of milk? And ladies, this one’s for you – did you know there’s an age-old herbal application using sticky weed to aid cleansing of the lymphatic system and subsequently cellulite?
Sticky weed is usually found in fertile, moist soils during spring, with its lush juvenile growth being suitable for use in the kitchen. Ensure you only harvest material from areas free of contaminants such as pesticides.
Due to its sticky and unappetising texture, sticky weed is best prepared by blending and adding to smoothies or soups, or steaming and using sparingly in stir fries. I suspect it could also be used as a pesto ingredient, but I am yet to try this myself.