Friday, April 12

Identifying & Eating Wild Greens

Eat your wild greens! 
In America we would mow over most of these edible greens without a second thought thinking they are pesky weeds instead of seeing delicious frittatas, stuffed pasta, crostini and more growing in our front yard! I've picked six different wild herbs or erbe selvatiche to identify today (obviously there are tons more like strighi, liscaro, wild radicchios, nettle, etc.)

With the help of our neighbors they have taught us what to eat and what to leave behind, I only know the names of most of these wild greens in Italian:
1. Papavero or Papatine (poppy greens) - sweet
2. Giransole (wild chicory) - bitter
3. Grispigno/Cicerbita (when you cut it 'milk' with weep from its stalk) - bitter
4. Orecchie di Lepre/Piantaggine (rabbits ear) - very soft
5. Cima di Rapa (brocoletti/broccoli rabé) - cut off the stalks and eat just the top
6. Tarassco (dandelion green)

Many of our neighbors (including Dott Gaggi & his wife Rossana) pick overflowing baskets of greens in the early spring, blanch them (then once cool, squeeze all the water out) and freeze in balls - then they have lovely Spring greens to eat all summer long!

A few of my favorite recipes with Wild Spring Greens:

Papavero or Papatine (poppy greens)

Grispigno/Cicerbita (wild chicory)
Orecchie di Lepre/Piantaggine
Cima di Rapa
Tarassco (dandelion green)
Join us for our Spring cooking classes, we take to the fields with wellies and a keen eye to collect bitter and sweet (and sometimes stinging) greens!

Here's a great site (in Italian) on identify wild herbs and recipes to go along: Piante Spontanee
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