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Edible Wild Plants: Botanical descriptions with illustrative photos

Edible Wild Plants: Botanical descriptions with illustrative photos

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Edible Wild Plants: Botanical descriptions with illustrative photos

Longueur:
533 pages
2 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 14, 2017
ISBN:
9788826401928
Format:
Livre

Description

From “Tuttolibri”, La Stampa, Turin, Italy.
Walking through the fields, along the lanes or in the mountains can be pleasantly surprising: botany is not just theory... ”Edible Wild Plants” is a fresh, new book. Spontaneous and easy divulgation is fascinating. Rediscovering our botanical roots and those of our places, privileging the edible aspect and retracing the many uses of a plant, suggests new approaches, while preserving the old ones. The late “reuse” of simple herbs, whose many species can be found in fields and pastures, takes us back to the past, when cuisine was poor, yet intelligent and refined. The authors, Riccardo Luciano and Carlo Gatti, have made a small miracle of applied botany. Knowing means protecting: our rich botanical heritage will have a safer, peaceful and happy future.

From the back cover.
Edible Wild Plants: a book that speaks for itself, with a simple and eye-catching title that invites readers to read and read it once again, as a manual providing useful and practical information. You just need to be careful and some good pieces of information to discover the varied universe of edible plants, precious as a food, as well as for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

From the presentation.
In recent years there has been a keen and growing interest in wild plants and their use as an ingredient for salads, soups, omelettes or stuffed ravioli and more. For many people, and for different reasons, harvesting wild plants is a stimulating activity. Yes, because identifying the right plant is not easy and being able to do that is quite rewarding, moreover, some people believe that wild plants are richer in vitamins, mineral salts and active ingredients compared to other plants, although this has not been scientifically proven. Last but not least, what we are harvesting can be really useful, it is an outdoor activity and it could be very fun and relaxing.
[…]
That’s why this book was written: trying to describe in a simple and linear way some wild plants which have been or can be used for cooking and, at the same time, highlighting the most common mistakes that can be made when identifying and harvesting them. So, if on the one hand harvesting wild plants can be really fun, on the other hand those who decide to devote their time to this activity must be really prepared. It is important to choose people who really know wild plants, not just their the dialect name, but everything about them.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 14, 2017
ISBN:
9788826401928
Format:
Livre

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Edible Wild Plants - Riccardo Luciano

First digital edition

© 2017 Marco Luciano

e-mail: dado@fungoceva.it

www.fungoceva.it

Translation from Italian: Language Shop (www.languageshop.it)

Desktop publishing: Alessandra Barra

RICCARDO LUCIANO

CARLO GATTI

EDIBLE

WILD PLANTS

FIRST REVISED AND INTEGRATED DIGITAL EDITION

Collaboration and coordination

MARCO LUCIANO

"The greatest service

which can be rendered any country

is to add a useful plant to its culture"

Thomas Jefferson

Presentation

In recent years there has been a keen and growing interest in wild plants and their use as an ingredient for salads, soups, omelettes or stuffed ravioli and more. For many people, and for different reasons, harvesting wild plants is a stimulating activity. Yes, because identifying the right plant is not easy and being able to do that is quite rewarding, moreover, some people believe that wild plants are richer in vitamins, mineral salts and active ingredients compared to other plants, although this has not been scientifically proven. Last but not least, what we are harvesting can be really useful, it is an outdoor activity and it could be very fun and relaxing. Harvesting and using wild plants for cooking is called Phytoalimurgia, which means wild plant harvested by men in times of famine. In today’s society, Phytoalimurgia plays a very different role compared to the past: today, famine has nothing to do with the use of wild plants for cooking. People choose them because they are natural products. With the right knowledge of Phytoalimurgia, as well as of the flora and vegetation, we can identify the right plants and preserve the huge genetic potential (germplasm) of wild species. It is, therefore, an extremely positive approach.

The most important thing, however, is having perfect knowledge of the plants we want to harvest. Knowledge is not an option, it is essential. And by essential I mean you should definitely be careful when harvesting and cooking wild plants, because using the wrong ingredients for a salad or an omelette can have lethal effects.

All plants (including salad) contain thousands and thousands of active ingredients and, as for toxic plants, there is no specific antidote (if not in a few cases). Most poisoning cases are treated symptomatically and doctors try to support the vital functions of the body, hoping that the patient will react and recover.

That’s why this book was written: trying to describe in a simple and linear way some wild plants which have been or can be used for cooking and, at the same time, highlighting the most common mistakes that can be made when identifying and harvesting them.

So, if on the one hand harvesting wild plants can be really fun, on the other hand those who decide to devote their time to this activity must be really prepared. It is important to choose people who really know wild plants, not just their the dialect name, but everything about them.

Introduction

They attract our attention with the colour of their flowers, among the rocks, the cracks of the walls or in the meadows, or with their intoxicating scent. Then there are shrubs, hedges and roots that go unnoticed, but that can be very useful. Concentration and a good knowledge of these plants is the only thing you need to approach this new world and start cooking with edible plants, or use them for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. Their properties have been known for centuries. Early last century, the president of the Academy of Agricolture of Turin, Oreste Mattirolo, dedicated his Phytoalimurgia Pedemontana to the rich natural flora of Piedmont, Italy: the census of wild plant species led him to list over 250 edible species. A study completed by the botanist Bruno Gallino, who published a book with the same title in 2001. Of the huge variety of plants, only the most interesting - according to an analysis of traditional recipes that helped to identify the plats used in the preparations - were included in this research. Then three groups were identified: edible plants, suitable for soups, salads, omelettes, fillings; herbs that add flavour to foods and drinks; wild tree fruits, with multiple properties. For all these plants you will find their scientific and common names, habitat, features, medicinal properties and their use as a food, as well as their pictures.

A journey through the scents and flavours of the past, when harvesting plants in the meadows and fields was a way to survive and not the culinary trend of the moment, or when these plants were used to treat diseases, because there was not enough money for medicines, to rediscover genuine foods and values.

They look like miniatures of Chinese lamps, nice decorations used by florists. Then you will discover that they are called winter cherries and that their fruit - covered with chocolate - becomes a delicious dessert. You will find out that amaranth is a food dye; that the ponytail is not just a hairstyle, but a flavour to be added to the soup; that herb Barbara was used to cure the wounds of gunners and firefighters, and that middlings were already used by the Tollund man, who lived during the 4th century BC, as a food. Moreover, in the fourteenth century, wood violet was used to prepare risotto with almonds and cream.

Are you ready to hear the story of these plants from the meadow to the table and to find out their medicinal properties? Do you know that some of these plants have properties you can not even imagine? For example, Parietaria, which is known to cause seasonal allergies, actually has diuretic, anti-rheumatic and purifying properties, and is also a secret ingredient used to add flavour to vegetable soups.

PAOLA SCOLA

Index

EDIBLE PLANTS

Black bryony

Black cumin

Black locust

Bladder campion

Buck’s-beard

Buckwheat

Chickweed

Chicory

Chives

Common bistort

Corn salad

Costmary

Daisy

Dandelion

Dog rose

Elder

European speedwell

Field horsetail

Field scabious

Flat pea

Garlic mustard

Good King Henry

Greater burdock

Ground elder

High mallow

Hogweed

Hop

Jerusalem artichoke

Lamb’s Quarters

Lemon balm

Lesser celandine

Lungwort

Mallow

Meadow clary

Meadow salsify

Milk thistle

Nettle

Nipplewort

Old man’s beard

Parnsip

Pellitory-of-the-wall

Perennial wall-rocket

Plantain

Poppy

Pot marigold

Prickly lettuce

Prickly sow-thistle

Primrose

Purslane

Rampion

Red bryony

Red clover

Red elderberry

Red-root amaranth

Rock cranesbill

Sage

Salad burnet - Great burnet

Sowthistle

Starflower

Sweet clover

Sweet violet

Tassel hyacinth

Wall lettuce

Watercress

Wild angelica

Wild asparagus

Wild garlic

Winter cherry

Winter cress

Wood sorrel

Yellow bedstraw

HERBS

Agrimony

Bay laurel

Black génépi

Caraway

Chamomile

Chervil

Cicely

Fennel

Glacier wormwood

Heath speedwell

Horseradish

Hyssop

Juniper

Lavender

Mugwort

Oregano

Rosemary

Rue

Sanicle

Simple leaved milfoil

Spearmint

Speedwell

Stemless gentian

Stiff hedgenettle

Summer savory

Tansy

White génépi

Wild thyme

Wormwood

Yarrow/Noble yarrow

Yellow gentian

WILD TREE FRUITS

Barberry

Bilberry

Blackcurrant

Blueberry

Cornelian cherry

Creamy strawberry

Dewberry

Gooseberry

Hawthorn

Medlar

Quince

Raspberry

Redcurrant

Wild strawberry

EDIBLE PLANTS

NOTES FOR READERS

In this book, the words «drug» and «active ingredients» are used with the same meaning, as provided by the Pharmacopoeia for medicinal plants.

Drug = the part of the plant that is commonly used, since it contains more active ingredients.

Active ingredients = the chemicals contained in the plant and the drug.

For example: the seeds of a coffee plant are the «drug», while its chemical constituents and aromatic compounds are the «active ingredients».

Black bryony

Tamus communis

Family: Dioscoreaceae

Common names: black bryony, lady’s-seal, black bindweed.

Features: perennial herbaceous plant with a strong fleshy root, similar to a tuber, where, in spring, erect stems grow, similar to the shoots of the asparagus but with a curved apex; the stems grow twisted on the nearby shrubs.

The leaves are alternate with a long stem and a heart-shaped edge, the apex is sharp, the margin is entire, the young leaves surface is shiny and then becomes opaque; the main veins start all from the base and gather at the apex. Unisexual flowers are grouped in axillary racemes, male flowers are elongated, while female flowers are short. The perianth is pale green, with 6 perpendicular campanulate laciniae.

The fruit, originated from the female flowers, is a red spherical berry containing three to six small round seeds; it can be confused with that of red bryony (Bryonia dioica) and is equally poisonous.

Habitat: woods, vegetation, hedges.

AMSL 0-800 m

Flowering time: April to May

Medicinal properties: emetic, purgative, stimulant. (Drug used: the root).

As a food: poisonous plant; the fruits can be deadly. However, the young shoots are widely used and consumed like those of hops or common asparagus.

BLACK BRYONY (TAMUS COMMUNIS)

BLACK BRYONY, FLOWERS

BLACK BRYONY, FRUITS

BLACK BRYONY, LEAF

Black cumin

Bunium bulbocastanum

Family: Apiaceae

Common names: black cumin, blackseed, black caraway, great pignut.

Features: perennial plant characterised by a brown globose tuber at the base with a diameter of 2 to 4 cm. Annual cylindrical stem, 30 to 60 cm high, usually branched, willowy at the base. Two seven times pinnate lower leaves with linear segments, while upper leaves are just pinnate. 10-20 ray umbels; 5-10 pendants or reflected bracts, white petals; elliptical achene with a peduncle slightly dented on the inside.

Habitat: wheat fields, heavy soil.

AMSL 400-1900 m

Flowering time: May to July

Medicinal properties: slightly astringent.

As a food: the tuber, properly boiled and then seasoned to taste, is really great as a food. The seeds and flowers are also used as a sauce as a substitute for cumin, while leaves are used to decorate dishes.

Notes from Phytoalimurgia pedemontana, by Oreste Mattirolo and Bruno Gallino: after washing and cooking the tubercles, they become almost mushy. Crush them with a mortar, add salt to taste and mix everything with milk, or better with cream, then knead it with flour and shape the dough as you would do for hardtacks and bake them in the oven. Some also add sugar.

Recipe 40

BLACK CUMIN (BUNIUM BULBOCASTANUM)

BLACK CUMIN, FLOWERS

BLACK CUMIN, TUBER

Black locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

Family: Papilionaceae or Leguminosae

Common name: black locust

Features: deciduous tree 20 to 25 m tall. Erect, often bifurcated trunk with smooth branches and angular and hairy reddish-brown smaller branches, and robust spines on them. Grey-brown wrinkled bark, fissured as it gets older. Compound leaves, unevenly pinnate, 20 to 35 cm long, adorned with stipules transformed into long spines up to 2 cm long; characterised by 4 to 10 pairs of leaflets, slightly petiolate, oval or oblong, green on the upper side and opaque on the lower side.

Flowers: numerous and fragrant, arranged in long, pendulous racemes.

Fruits: sessile leathery legumes, linear (5-10 cm), compressed, reddish brown when ripe.

Habitat: hilly areas. Fast growing, weed.

Medicinal properties: the leaves are purgative and cholagogue.

As a food: the flowers are harvested before they open and are good without the stalks. They can be used to prepare delicious jams, to which it adds a pleasant taste and aroma.

Like elder flowers, but much better, sweeter and fragrant, the flowers of black locust can be dipped in batter and then fried in hot oil to prepare a tasty and delicious dish.

Notes: imported to Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century from the United States, by J. Robin, who took care of the botanical garden of the King of France, it was brought to Italy about two centuries later, but became quite important only a century ago. It is, indeed, a very frugal species suitable for any type of soil. With its extensive root system, it is used to consolidate landslides and unstable slopes. Unfortunately, it is a very invasive tree, which often tends to expand its presence to the detriment of native species. Its white flowers, arranged in fragrant bunches, attract bees, which produce a type of single flower, light, fluid and very popular honey.

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