Most people do not know about the use of greens in our everyday lives despite the fact that they might have bought them in order tomake pies. Wild grass that grows in the fields is particularly rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, ingredients which contribute significantly to the antioxidant capacity of the organism.
I will try to present some of the easily recognizable and used ones.
Wild Artichoke-Cynara cardunculus Perennial plant that reaches over 1 meter tall. It grows in all warm regions of Greece. The leaves and flowers are gathered during spring before blooming. They are usually cooked boiled with other vegetables even meat. They can even be even be cooked with scrambled eggs and can become pickle.
Agriozochos (Pikrithra, Koufolachano)-Urospermum picroides
Annual plant which reaches 20-50 inches. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The shape and size of its kind is never the same. The leaves are dark green with long thick red stem. They are gathered from early winter until late spring. Their flavor is slightly bitter and can be eaten boiled with plenty of lemon or with lamb or goat.
Purslane (Purslane, Fountain, choirovotano) – Portulaca Oleracia
Annual plant that reaches 20 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The leaves are dark green, fleshy and thick. It is said that if you chew some fresh leaves and put them under your tongue, it is quite thirst quenching. It is rich in vitamin C and a nutritional research in Crete showed that its consumption helps the heart. It is gathered from the beginning of summer to autumn. Mainly eaten raw in salads and rustic is nice and cooked stew pot. It can generally be replaced with lettuce like green vegetables, but can be eaten as salad with onions and vinegar.
Notchweeds (vlistros, glintros, vlitaraki) – Amaranth
Annual plant reaches 80 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. It is a major weed in crops because they multiply very quickly and easily. Its seed can sprout after ten years. It is gathered on peaks from the beginning summer until autumn. You have to prune it frequently before it make seeds. It is eaten boiled with vinegar or lemon juice and is combined with garlic and various vegetables in order to make delicious courgette balls. It is cooked with potatoes and used for pies along with other greens.
Bulbs – (Kourkoutselia, kremmydoules, U. maritima)-Mouscari comosum
Perennial plants that reach 15 cm. One can encounter them everywhere in uncultivated sites. They bloom from February to March. Their flowers can be eaten in omelette and bulbs are harvested later and cooked boiled with oil and vinegar or pickle made.
Black mustard (wild mustard, agrioovrouves, pikrovrouves)
Annual plants that reach 60 cm, they are found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. Their leaves are green during the year. Their leaves are made pie during the winter and in spring they are boiled with vinegar and lemon.
Zochos (Felt Sfogkos)-Sonchus oleraceus
Annual plant which reaches 40-80 inches. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The leaves are light green and contain milky juice. They are gathered from early autumn until late spring. Their flavor is slightly sweet and they are eaten boiled with lots of lemon and put in pies along with other greens and herbs.
Annual plant that reaches 50 cm We encounter it in almost every single uncultivated site. We gather the petals of the flowers which bloom from winter to spring. Used in skin diseases and foods to give yellow color and aroma.
Monk (perdikonychi, combs stitch, forks)-Erodium cicutarium
Annual plant that reaches 60 centimeters It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. It is gathered during the winter and blooms in spring. It is used in pies and omellette with vegetables.
Perennial plant that grows throughout Greece. It blooms in summer and we gather the buds before blooming. They are preserved in brine or vinegar, depending on what taste one wants. Used in pickles and salads.
Wild carrot (parsnips, parsnips)-Daucus carota
Biennial plant that can reach one meter in height. It grows everywhere and is spread throughout Greece. Its leaves are boiled and eaten alone or with other herbs. They are still used in pies to give flavor (smell almost like parsley). Naturally the root can be eaten as simple carrots.
Kafkalithra (Moscholachano, Kafkalida)-Tordylium apulum
Annual plant that reaches 20 cm We encounter it almost in uncultivated sites. We gather leaves and tender tops from winter to spring while it blooms. It is mainly used in pies and as a flavoring in beans and sauces.
Sorrel (Lapato, xynolapato, xinithra)-Rumex
Annual plant that reaches 50 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. It has about 5 species widespread in Greece. The leaves are dark green and have a slightly sour taste. It is gathered from early autumn until the end of the spring. It is mainly used in pies and as a vegetable with meat.
Fennel (Fennel, Fennel)-Foeniculum vulgare
Perennial plant that reaches two meters. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. People gather the fresh leaves of the winter until late spring. We use it in green pies and as a flavoring in fresh salads and sauces.
Annual plant that reaches 90 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated sites. People gather its leaves and tender tops from winter to spring while blooming. The leaves are eaten boiled or stuffed with meat.
Annual plant that reaches 40 cm. You can encounter it in every uncultivated and cultivated sites. It grows by itself in southern Europe. It can be grown in all types of terrain, even in pots. Blooms from spring to summer. The flowers and leaves are eaten in salads and give a fresh taste that is soft like cucumber. It is a medicinal plant. Caution is needed with leaves because they can damage the liver if eaten in large quantities. Those with liver problems should avoid it.
MYRON (Ktenochorto Venus)-Scandix pectin veneris
Annual plant that reaches 20 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. People gather the leaves from winter to spring while blooming. We use it mostly in pies and as a flavoring in fresh salads and sauces.
Xinithra-Oxalys acetosella / Oxalys pes-caprae (xinithra double flowers)
The xinithra is found everywhere, because it can be spread very easily and can become troublesome weed. It contains potassium oxalate and can be poisonous if eaten in a large amount. It is used in soups, sauces and green pies in small quantities, to give sour taste.
Annual plant that reaches 30-60 inches. Is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. The leaves are light green throughout the winter and spring before blooming. It is mainly used in green pies along with other greens or boiled salad.
Petromaroulo (Agriomaroulo)-Lactuca serriola
Biennial plant that can reach up to 1 meter. It grows everywhere in all regions of Greece. It has a thick central stem with thorns. Stems and leaves contain a milky juice, which is calming and enhances the senses. The large mature plant is slightly toxic. The leaves are still small, boiled and eaten alone or with other greens.
Wild Chicory (Pikroradiko, dandelion)-Cichorium intybus
Perennials that reach one meter. They are found almost everywhere in uncultivated sites. Harvested in the fall with the first rains until spring. They are boiled and eaten with lemon sauce or cooked with meat.
Arugula (Azoumato)-Eruca sativa
Annual plant reaches 60-80 inches. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The leaves are green and the stem is long and white. People gather leaves and tender tops all year. It blooms from spring to summer. The flowers attract bees. The leaves are often cut and eaten plain like vinegar or salad with lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes.
Chard (Sesklo, licorice)-Beta vulgaris
Perennial plant that grows up to 50-60 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The leaves are glossy dark green or white and thick. It is cultivated during spring and autumn. Their flavor is slightly sweet and leaves are eaten boiled with sauce, or made stuffed and put in pies along with other greens and herbs.
Mustard Annual plant that reaches 60-80 inches.
It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. The leaves are green. People gather leaves in winter pies or boil them with vinegar. Mustard is produced by black mustard.
Cardoon (skoliampri, skoliantros, Cardoon, Aspragathos)-Scolymus hispanicus The Cardoon is a perennial plant that can reach up to 1 meter. It has deep thick root and a thick central stem. It blooms during summer and is found everywhere throughout Greece. Fresh leaves are eaten during winter and spring and boiled like greens alone or with herbs. Roots can be gathered and eaten boiled during winter.
Wild Garlic-Allium sativum Perennial plant that reaches 60 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. It accumulates throughout the winter until late spring. We use it in green pies and as a flavoring in fresh salads and sauces.
Asparagus / Ceph-Asparagus
Perennial plants that reach the half meter. They are found almost everywhere in uncultivated places and mainly under uncultivated trees. People gather the plants seeds from March to April. They are eaten boiled and their juice can be drunk.
Cantankerous (nightshade, vromochorto, agriontomatia)-Solanum nigrum Family: Solanaceae (Solanaceae).
Annual plant that reaches 60 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated places. The plant contains in its fruits solanine which is toxic, but this result disappears during boiling. We use it mainly with boiled sautéed vegetables such as wild amaranth, beans and zucchini.
Dandelion in Pharmacy (dandelion greens, dandelion)-Taraxacum officinale Family: Composite (Compositae).
Native perennial plant that grows all over the world and reaches 25 cm height. It is found in uncultivated places and in fields like weed. Easily propagated in spring. The leaves are toothed and smaller than the common chicory cichorium. The flowers of young shoots emerge from the base of the plant looking small, with a golden color. The dandelion greens are harvested from winter until spring and are eaten raw in salads or boiled with meat. The leaves can be used in green pies. Finally taraxacum is potent diuretic and reduces the amount of fluid in the body, but unlike other diuretics that cause potassium loss, leaves contain large amounts of potassium to provide the body. The root and leaves are used to prevent and combat gallstones.
Nettle-Urtica dioica Annual plant that reaches 80 cm. It is found almost everywhere in uncultivated and cultivated sites. People gather new leaves in the winter until spring before blooming for pies.