Trust me: You won’t regret learning some basics about edible plants if you’re into the whole outdoor-thing. This skill just adds so many great flavours, vitamins and minerals to your bland camping food. We loved coming across yummy greens and always paused long enough to gather a few handfuls of them. In Val Grande, we found and used the following plants (I suppose they will grow in other parts of the Alps as well):
- blackberries and wild strawberries (Brombeeren & Walderdbeeren)
- aromatic, thick cushions of thyme and oregano (Thymian & Oregano)
- water mint (Wasserminze)
- shaggy soldier (Franzosenkraut)
- bear’s garlic (Bärlauch) – yes, it’s actually too late for this delicacy. Lucky us that spring often lacks behind in the mountains!
- St. John’s Wort (Johanniskraut)
- yarrow (Schafsgarbe)
- goldenrod (Goldrute)
- lady’s mantle (Frauenmantel)
- cow parsley (Wiesen-Kerbel)
- caraway (Wiesen-Kümmel)
- cow parsnip (Wiesen-Bärenklau)
- wood sorrel (Sauerklee)
- ribwort and wide plantain (Spitz- und Breitwegerich)
- ground elder (Giersch)
- loads of stinging nettle (Brennnessel)
Wow, I’m only realizing now that this is quite a long list. And indeed, we had fresh greens in our dinner pretty much every night and on very lucky days sweet berries in our morning porridge. Oh how my little, nerdy, botanical heart wished that my identification key wasn’t such a bulky, heavy bitch… There were so many more plants I simply didn’t know! Gimme a shout if you know a good app, I haven’t found one yet (however, I can recommend the website Wildfind).
2 thoughts on “The Alps’ culinary highlights”
Great article, I love herbs, but in the city I never pick them as I consider them to be covered with dirt, exhaust gases and whatever dogs do in town.
Are you on twitter?
Ric, you’re absoltely right about not eating city greens. Whenever I go collecting, I drive out to Potsdam/Brandenburg. In fact, I wrote my Bachelor thesis about wild edible plants and their vitamin and mineral content (trying out some recipes was also part of it).
No, not using twitter atm. Would you recommend it? However, we will host a “professional” blog and an instagram channel before our departure to Canada.