foraging food

March

There is a saying, “τον Μάρτη ξύλα φύλαε, μεν κάψεις τα παλλούτζια” – “save firewood for March, don’t burn the furniture”. The sunlight is stronger, the day is a little longer but it can get cold enough at night to still need a heater!

In March, foraging in Cyprus can yield a variety of tasty and nutritious wild edibles. One popular plant found during this time is wild asparagus, which can be spotted by its delicate stems and small green buds. Another common find is ptychia, a wild green similar in taste to spinach. It is often used in salads or sautéed in olive oil and garlic.

Other edible plants to look out for include lamb’s lettuce, rocket, and fennel. Be sure to do your research and consult with a local expert before foraging, as some wild plants in Cyprus can be poisonous. It is also important to only take what you need and avoid overharvesting to preserve the ecosystem. With these precautions in mind, foraging in March can be a fun and sustainable way to explore the natural bounty of Cyprus.

Καθαρά Δευτέρα

Kathara Deftera, Pure Monday, Ash Monday, Monday of Lent or Green Monday marks the start of Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church. This public holiday in Cyprus and Greece falls on the first Monday of Lent (usually in March but can be as early as mid-February). It is a day of fasting and abstaining from meat and dairy products. The tradition of foraging for wild greens on Green Monday dates back centuries, as it is believed to symbolize the austerity of the fast and to provide a nutritious and cleansing start to the season.

Find some people that still practice the tradition of foraging for wild greens and having a picnic to eat them. Helping each other with plant identification will increase your foraging knowledge as well as getting to know new recipes, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Silifa - Gundelia tournefortii

Silifa

Σίλλυφα
Anadolu Kengerotu

Thistle - Cirsium vulgare

Thistle

Γαουράγκαθο
Yaygın Kangal

Sage

Σπατζιά
Adaçayı

Salsify, Tragopogon porrifolius, flower head

Salsify

Καλακατσούνα
Çayır Teke Sakalı

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