In this article, we will talk about three of my favourite greens. Amaranth (Amarantus blitum) known locally as Vlita commonly found in summer, Common Reichardia (Picridium vulgare) found in winter, Black bryony (Tamus communis), Avronies, wild asparagus found in spring.
Greek wild greens such as Amaranth (Vlita) and Common Reichardia (Picridium vulgare) hold a special place in Greek cuisine. Known as “horta,” these nutritious and flavourful greens are beloved for their unique taste and versatility in cooking.
To prepare these greens, they are typically boiled or steamed until tender. They can be enjoyed on their own with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, or incorporated into various dishes such as soups, stews, pies, and salads. The Greeks often refer to Common reichardia by the names “pikralida” or “galatsida,” while Black bryony is known as “Avronies.” These names add to the cultural richness surrounding these traditional ingredients.
Amaranth leaves have a slightly earthy flavour with a hint of sweetness. They are tender yet robust in texture. They are in plentiful in summer. When cooked, they retain their vibrant green colour and provide a delightful contrast to other ingredients in a dish.
Common reichardia a winter green, has a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with tangy flavours like lemon or vinegar. Its leaves have an appealing crispness when raw but soften nicely when cooked. You can find this green growing wild in the garden of our villa during winter.
Black bryony leaves offer a mild flavour. These are one of the most prized of all Greek greens. There are wild asparagus and are a delicacy in Greece, commonly foraged in Crete and other parts of Greece. I had the opportunity of tasting them wild in Mykonos during my spring hike with yummy pedals.
These Greek wild greens not only bring unique flavours to the table but also offer numerous health benefits due to their high nutritional content. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they contribute to overall well-being and are considered an essential part of Mediterranean cuisine. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Greek dishes or simply looking to explore new flavours, incorporating these wild greens into your cooking repertoire can add a touch of authenticity and nourishment to your meals. Next time you are in Greece look out for these greens, lovingly call Horta in Greece.