I recently stayed on the East coast of Corfu (Greece) for a week, and whilst the intention was to have a week of complete relaxation, I don’t think it’s possible for a forager to ignore plants, ever.
Anyway, I was pleased to see so many plants that I recognised from foraging in the UK, but there were also plenty that I wouldn’t have a clue about – that’s where some local knowledge would help if I intended to stay there and forage!
Quite often on foraging walks, we get onto the subject of lost knowledge, and how in other parts of the world (including some of mainland Europe) they don’t have “foraging” because gathering wild edible plants is just part of life. However, whilst it was encouraging to see some evidence of wild food gathering, it was also clear that the practice is beginning to die out in Corfu too.
In Greece, they have a dish called “horta” which just means greens and will probably have different contents from one restaurant to another. It can include dandelion leaves, amaranths, mustards and chicory. Interestingly, the Greek for vegetarian is hortafagos which translates as “weed-eater”. Anyway, it was encouraging to see that you can still buy horta, gathered by a local forager, from the markets.
Slightly less encouraging was the amount of perfectly good olives, grapes, prickly pears and other edibles rotting on the plants, or on the floor beneath them.
Edible plants in common with the UK
So what can you recognise their from your foraging here? I’m sure that there is plenty more, but this forager saw: