Nature’s delicious gifts!
Not more than a generation ago, gathering wild plants was a means of supplementing the diet of the less affluent families. For our grandparents, a dish of cooked wild greens dressed with olive oil and lemon was a proper meal. A wide variety of wild edible plants grows not only in the countryside, but also in our backyards. Among the abundance of Cyprus greens traditional recipes, here are a few of our favorites:
We make omelets or scrambled eggs with strouthouthkia (bladder campion) or agrelia (wild asparagus). Both plants have a slight bitter taste that blends well with olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.
Many enjoy kafkaroues (wild artichokes) on the spot, raw, with a dash of lemon and a pinch of salt. Alternatively, we boil wild artichokes, both the heart and the stem, together with beans or black eye beans to add flavor. We also fry them with eggs or meat to add taste and texture.
We usually pickle Pagkaloi (field eryngo); however, in some areas people cook them with olive oil, onions and tomato sauce (yiahni).
We serve galatouna or tzohos (sow thistle), which took its name from the milky (Greek: gala) juices of its leaves, boiled with olive oil and vinegar. We eat Lapsana (white mustard) mostly boiled, topped with a little olive oil and a dash of lemon juice. Its flowers make a delicious meze fried with eggs, while its peeled stems are eaten raw, accompanied with olives and chives.
Molocha (mallow plant) tastes great and we eat it fresh as a salad, boiled or boiled with rice. Add a dash of kitromilo (bitter orange) juice and olive oil to boil Molocha for an exceptional taste.
Every Cypriot pantry has a staple of pickled kappari (capers), which we add to salads, or we serve as a side dish.
While gathering edibles in the Heartland of Legends countryside, do not forget these simple dos and donts: Try not to damage other vegetation and never take too much – let plants reproduce. We advise you to use a straw basket to gather the plants, to allow the seeds to fall back to the ground. If you have any doubts about a plant’s edibility do not collect it. Do not forget to wash all plants well before consuming.
Collecting foods in the Heartland of Legends countryside is refreshing, amusing and it allows you to participate in a rewarding activity for all the senses, your body, and mind!