Edible wild plants

The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence have a remarkable wild plant biodiversity and past populations always found a source of food in their natural surroundings.

In the abbey garden, this wealth of flora is preserved and we do our utmost to perpetuate this harvesting tradition.

Yarrow

Practical tip : When picking...

Never pick a plant if there no others of the same species around ; do not hinder their reproduction (by collecting all their seeds for example).

Caution : some plants have cousins which look very much like them, but which are not edible and can even be toxic !

Spring herbs 

In the spring there is an abundance of young tender leaves which will mostly be used in salads. When eaten raw, these leaves keep all their nutritional potential.

The following spring herbs can be found in our garden: Yarrow, Shepherd’s Purse, Poppy, Hawksbeard, Fumitory, Chickweed and Nettles.

 

Shepherd's Purse, poppy, Chickweed and Nettles

The wild vegetables of summer 

Here we are actually talking about «weeds», which is what they are known as when they invade our crops. But if we let them take over a few small corners, they will make the garden lush and nourishing.

The king of this garden is Fat Hen, as long as it finds some bare soil to germinate its seeds (there are so many of them and they can wait up to 50 years!). Raw, it is incredible in salads, and cooked it replaces spinach in thousands of recipes. Eaten since the Neolithic era, it is very high in protein and vitamin A and C.

High Mallow is very much at home here. It draws water through its deep pivoting root, despite the summer droughts. Thanks to the mucilage it contains, its tender, sweet leaves are delicious in salads and also soothe internal irritations. And cooked in soups, Mallow can make a « vegetable fondue ».



Mallow and Fat Hen

Flowers in our dishes

Many of them give colour, but sometimes also flavour. Others, such as Poppies, Mallow, Borage, Clove and Viper’s Bugloss, have medicinal properties. 

But fruit too

The Dog-rose, the fruit of the wild rose, with its high vitamin C content, makes delicious jam. In our garden, you can also find the edible fruits of the Chinese Strawberry, Elder, Damson and Rowan.
 


Chinese Strawberry, Elder and Rowan

Wild aromatic herbs  

We have almost all of them in the garden: Savoury, Thyme, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender, Wild Thyme, Rosemary, Pimpernel and Juniper. 

And in winter we can add herbs such as Plantain, Daisies, Clover, Nettles, and roots such as Burdock to our cooking. 

These practices require very serious teaching where recognizing plants and respect for nature will be fundamental for risk-free gardening. 

 



Thyme, Garlic and Plantain

 

 

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