The Rites of Spring in Chianti
|detail from Botticelli's glorious Allegory of Spring or Primavera |
to be found in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Once upon a time, at winter's end, when the orto or vegetable patch was not yet providing greens and other vegetables, country people would round out their zuppa di verdura, vegetable soup or minestra di pane, bread soup, with greens, sprouts and roots gathered in field and woodland.
Nowadays the best greens are cleaned and washed, then boiled in salted water, drained, pressed, chopped and served warm with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
However, dear readers, we do not recommend experimenting with wild herbs, unless you are accompanied by Those who have the Knowledge!
Wild garlic, wild asparagus, stinging nettle, dandelion, rampion bellflower, sow thistle, bladder campion, borage, wild fennel and others are all there for the gathering at this time of year while they are at their most tender. Perhaps the most sought-after are the asparagus and the strigoli, see below.
Other field greens are often fed to domestic rabbits.
|finocchio selvatico - foeniculum vulgare - wild fennel|
|aglio selvatico - allium ursinum - wild garlic|
|strigoli - silene vulgaris - bladder campion|
|sportellecchia - portulaca oleracea -purslane|
|cicerbita - sonchus oleaceus - sow thistle|
|ortica - urtica dioica - stinging nettle|
|asparago selvatico - asparagus officinalis - asparagus|
raperonzolo - campanula rapunculus - rampion bellflower
|boraggine - borago officinalis - borage|
|tarassaco - taraxacum officinale -dandelion|
Early spring wild harvest:
boraggine - borago officinalis - borage
cicerbita - sonchus oleaceus - sow thistle
finocchio selvatico - foeniculum vulgare - wild fennel
strigoli - silene vulgaris - bladder campion
tarassaco - taraxacum officinale -dandelion