How to Make a Wild Herbal Succus: Cleavers
When the first wave of spring greenery hits between March-May, it's succus making season. A succus is essentially a fancy word for a medicinal, concentrated herbal juice, typically preserved with some kind of alcohol. In this recipe, I froze my succus in ice cube trays rather than adding the alcohol, but you could use either method of preservation depending on what resources you have and how/when you are planning to use your green juice.
My favorite herbs for making succuses (succi?) are the juiciest ones that are often also known as food as well as medicine: cleavers, chickweed, nettle, and dandelion on the wild side and turmeric and ginger on the cultivated side. Roughly, succus making follows the same general guidelines: a few handfuls of herbs in the blender or juicer (adding a little water if you're using a blender), and then using the juice concentrate by the teaspoon or tablespoonful up to a few tablespoons at a time, freezing it for later use, or adding alcohol so that the mixture is at least 25% alcohol and then storing this in the fridge.
Today is cleavers harvest day! I’m going to make a cleavers succus for acute gentle lymph support, especially when this is so needed during recovery from illness or a time when the body is under prolonged stress. Cleavers (Galium aparine) is an ally for the ‘waters’ of the body. It’s in our Lymph Love formula and I find it especially useful in combination with calendula, violet, and chickweed as a safe, gentle tonic and overall mineral-rich lymph mover and shaker. It’s a keep-things-flowing herb for times of stagnancy and healing. And also a fabulous spring edible! Handy for hooking its Velcro-like little barbs on friends’ shirts and a great pesto addition.
I never would have had time to make 24 ice cubes full of cleavers succus had it not been for the COVID-19 quarantine we're in the midst of (silver lining!). I harvested about 2 lbs of plant material - primarily cleavers but I threw a little dandelion and chickweed in there as well, threw it in the blender in batches with a splash of water just to get it blending (maybe 1/2 cup per batch, give or take), pulverized it, strained it (you can use cheesecloth, a tea strainer, or hands), and wound up with a gorgeously grassy green ‘juice’. I’m freezing it in ice cube trays for easy access to lymph support ice cubes. I’m imagining adding these chlorophyll cubes to smoothies, plopping them in tea or infusions, or melting and taking them as ‘shots’ on their own for an acute lymph boost.