Goose grass is also known as cleavers or ‘sticky weed’. It is easily recognisable by the star shaped leaves around a central stem. It is very ‘sticky’ and as children we used to throw it at each other to stick it on our clothes. As a mother I felt it my duty to pass that knowledge onto my children, and I probably have some teachers I need to apologise to, as they had the weed stuck to their back during school field trips.

However I didn’t find out that you could eat them until I started reading about foraging as an adult, and recently I picked up some while out running in our local woods. It comes up like a weed in spring, and will spread quickly, so it’s best to harvest the wild plants and not to introduce it into your garden, as it is likely to take over your beds.

Like nettles, you need to pick it before it flowers, and preferably as young as possible. If you are picking older plants take the top half with the fresh young leaves only.

Some people have an allergic reaction to the plants so as with anything, try a small amount first. They can also irritate your skin and cause itching, but that goes quickly.

It is rich in Vitamins C and D and has historically been used to prevent scurvy, especially in times when other foods were in short supply.

How to cook

It is known to have medicinal properties, and some people soak in in boiling water to make it into tea or soak it in cold water as an infusion to drink, as a daily natural remedy to help with various conditions. I tried making it into a drink, and I did not like the taste, but then if you are taking it medicinally it’s not about the flavour.

However I then tried it stir fried in butter and garlic and it tasted good – similar to spinach. I believe it would also work well as a substitute for nettles in soup.