Springtime in Cyprus Part 2

With so much lush vegetation bursting forth in the countryside it is a bumper time for foraging. This is a widespread activity here particularly amongst the older generation. Apart from mushrooms of course now is the time to find wild asparagus a great delicacy and favourite. A few years ago I was lucky enough to go on a foraging trip with the lovely Elena Savvides ¬†who sadly is no longer with us, we picked all kinds of wild greens, many of which I’ve forgotten the names but I do remember how delicious the meal cooked with them was.

There is a particular kind of wild spinach that grows here and is called locally ‘stroufouthkia‘ which I believe translates as little sparrows, the leaves do look a little like wings. There is a wild pea and mallow which is ubiquitous, wild fennel and many more that I don’t recognise but are edible and the deep green leaves are full of nutrients and like nettles cleansing to the liver.Most of these are best picked when very young and tender and often just the shoots or tips are used as the leaves lower down get stringy and tough. There are also conveniently in nature’s store cupboard, wild herbs to go with your feast, the sage is particularly aromatic.

 

My cousin Androula visited a few weeks ago and went with a friend out foraging in Steni they returned with baskets full of green stuff and a feast was duly cooked up. The wild asparagus usually gets cooked with scrambled eggs and although most of the greens have no individual distinctive flavour you can guarantee they are supplying well needed nutrients after the winter producing bright eyes , clear skins and shiny coats for us all.

 

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