Edidble wild plants: Identifying and harvesting comestible wild plants workshop
Here in Sardinia, searching for wild food is everyone’s favorite pastime. Depending on the period of year, each Sardinian has their favorite period for “hunting” everything from wild asparagus, chicory and artichokes to dozens of varieties of mushrooms and truffles. After a day walking outdoors enjoying collecting your food, we can show you how to come home and cook a delicious meal that is just filled with life, the taste of the pristine countryside that cover the island. No wonder it’s one of five of the world’s Blue Zones!
Abstract: In the spring the fields are painted in green with a profuse diffusion of herbs which are delicious and healthy to eat. We offer you a beautiful walk in the countryside as we identify and harvest what nature offers us in a hands on workshop where we will learn how to cook and enjoy eating them!
Spring time here is certainly the most generous season in terms of edible wild foraging, for its abundance and its variety.
The workshop that we offer here at Country Living School is made up of walks through the countryside, identification of the plants that we find in situ and another part dedicated to the preparation of these wild plants in the kitchen as we prepare our lunch!
The wild plant workshop lasts an entire day in addition to the walks and identification activities there will also be a practical part of cooking these wild foods and a moment of sharing during lunch time. To book your tour and to have more information click here!
Here is a list that with care I have prepared to share with you. I think the wild food we find here exalts all the wonder of this island. We seasonally harvest and eat:
Wild garlic (Allium triquetrum), grows in humid soil and shade, in the vinyards and gardens around the home, this plant contains cellulose, sulfur, proteins, mineral salts, vitamins and contains a natural antibiotic with disinfectant and diuretic properties. Its excellent eaten raw in salad, in an omelet or cooked in place of garlic in the kitchen.
Asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius), grows in partial sun around old trees and rock walls. Its a plant that is rich in many vitamins like A, b1, b2. Its has mineral salts like, iron, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. The ways to prepare this magnificent plant are as diverse as the surrounding Sardinian scenery.
Wild chard (Beta vulgaris) perennial plant, it can be found on uncultivated fields. Wild chard are rich in vitamin A and mineral salt, like iron, manganeseum and potassium. It can be prepared in so many ways and can be used to enrich soups, omelets, sauteed and fried.
Borage (Borago officinalis)is a plant that is commonly found in uncultivated lands, in the garden etc., Borage is among the superherbs that are rich in healthy virtues that you can eat boiled and seasoned with exrta virgin olive oil or drinken as a healthy tonic. We also like to bread and fry the leaves! Traditionally, Borago officinalis has been used in hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, such as gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).
Wild cardoons (Cynara Cardunculus) is a common plant found in the Mediterranean area, in abandoned fields and along road sides. It can be harvested from mid winter to the end of spring, they are much appreciated for their unique taste and health benefits. We harvest the leaves and once the spikes are removed they are boiled and served with olive oil or they can be enjoyed fried with eggs or accompanying a meat dish, like lamb. A true taste of the Mediterranean diet!
Milk thistle (Sybibum marianum) Silybum marianum establishes itself in sunny, warm rural meadows in regularly disturbed places such as rubble deposits, at the foot of south-exposed walls or villages and on fallow land or on cattle pastures.Like all thistles it is rich in mineral salts and in addition it helps with digestion problems, as a detoxin and as a tonic.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a common plant in the Mediterranean with several varieties. The leaves are rich in essential oils and vitamins B,C, K and mineral salts like iron. It’s delicious sauteed, boiled or made into an omelet. It can be harvested from the winter season through the spring.
Italian Strawflower (Helichrysum italicum) Very useful for the preparation of cremes and tinctures. Its an expectorant (gets rid of a cough)and histemanic. It’s an ally against a cough and spring allegeries. It’s harvested from June to July. It’s useful for psoriasis, hydrates the skin, softens wrinkles and relaxes.
Horse Tail (Equisetum arvense) is found in humid, dark rich humus. You can often find a patch near near streams and rivers. Even if it’s not edible per se, it’s an important tool in the preparation of herbal teas and tinctures thanks to its rich mineral salt content like silica, potassium and vitamin C.
St. John’s Wart (Hypericum perforatum) flowers mid-June and according to the tradition it’s flowers are harvested on the day of Saint John (24th of June) from whence comes the name. Even if it’s not really eaten it has several medical properties in oils for the skin and tinctures for winter depression and more.
Wild Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) it’s a wild plant that you can find in a variety of soils. We harvest it when it’s tender of which there are many different things you can do with them, from soups to salads. Fennel provides pain relief and is an anti-inflammatory, it also helps with digestion. It can be kept year round, dried and stored.
Malva/Cheeses/ Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) A common plant throughout Sardinia. It’s great for an herbal tea that can help with upset stomach while it’s flowers decorate our salads in the spring and have a refreshing taste. In Morocco, Tunisia and Palestine the leaves are steamed with garlic and tomatoes, and eaten as an appetizer or salad.
Nettles (Urtica dioica) Rich in protein, vitamins and mineral salts, they can be cooked and seasoned with olive oil. They are also used as an infusion for rhemutatis and equilibrates the intestinal flora. You can use it for washing your hait. The plant can also be macerated and the liquid is used as a fertilizer. Can anybody say……ORGANIC?
Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta), called mâche or mache; common cornsalad; or lamb’s lettuce, is a small, herbaceous, annual flowering plant in the honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae. During the winter months this abundant “weed” grows all over our vegetable garden. It has a particular nutty taste. It’s a pleasure to take a walk in the late afternoon and cut yourself some valerianella for dinner. Like other foraged greens, corn salad has many nutrients, including three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, iron, and potassium.