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Tips for Herbs & Wild Plants

Tips for Purchasing Herbs & Wild Plants

If you leave in the country, but do not have the knowledge required to identify specific herbs and wild plants, or the time to harvest them yourselves, look for them in your local market or greengrocer.

It is advisable to find out the origin of then herbs and plants you intend to buy.

Never purchase herbs/plants with obvious damage on leaves or fruits.

Tips for Storing Herbs & Wild Plants

Wild plants and herbs are best for consumption the same day or purchase. The same is true for all vegetables.

Never wash or rinse wild plants if you intend to store them in a freezer or refrigerator for a few days. Refrigerated plants turn yellow and give off a foul smell in a week or do. If you must refrigerate wild plants, store them at the lower compartment of the refrigerator.


Always remove the yellow leaves, soil or any other visible foreign matter before refrigerating herbs and wild plants. Do not wash.

Wild plants with thick leaves and stems last longer in the freeze/refrigerator. However, chicory and asparagus wither and turn yellow quite easily.

Tips for Washing Herbs & Wild Plants.

Herbs and wild plants should not be soaked or they will lose many of their much-desired substances (particularly sugars, vitamins and minerals).

Always rinse them under running water, particularly the leaves and root section.

Never dispose of roots since they concentrate valuable substances (water, sugar, etc). Roots are best cleaned with a brush. Do not scrape them with knives or other sharp instruments.

Wild plants harvested from areas frequented by sheep should be soaked in a vinegar solution for 10 minutes prior to consumption and then rinsed thoroughly.

Preparation for Cooking Wild Plants

Wild plants and vegetables should be allowed to dry well before their consumption raw, in salads. Olive oil is best distributed over dry leaves. Centrifugal manual dryers for plants are available in the market today.

Wild herbs and vegetables should not be finely chopped when using less than 4 species.

Do not mash wild plants and vegetables when making wild soups. It is best to chop them finely with a sharp knife.

To get the most out of wild plants and vegetables, it is best to consume them raw. The more you process foods, the higher the loss of their valuable substances. Boiling wild food for 4 minutes corresponds to 20-45% loss of their minerals and 75% loss of their vitamins.

Adding an acidic medium, e.g. lemon juice or vinegar, to boiling or raw plants minimizes the loss of vitamins.

Adding an acidic medium, e.g. lemon juice or vinegar, to boiling or raw plants minimizes the loss of vitamins.


The most popular mode of wild plant preparation is boiling. However, one should take the following tips into consideration

-allow the water to come to the boil prior to adding the wild plants. This way the plants will not bleach but will retain their beautiful clean color

-boil wild plants in as little water as possible: rinse them thoroughly and put them wet in a pot. Mix them well and add a little water.

-caution: some plants, e.g., chicory, should be boiled in ample water, otherwise they turn yellow. Also, wild and bitter plants should be boiled in ample water to discharge their bitter substances.

-adding soda to boiling wild plants will help them retain their beautiful color, however, most of their valuable substances will be lost, particularly vitamin C.

-add salt to boiling wild plants to boiling wild plants approximately 8 minutes before you take the pot off the oven ring or before serving

-wild plants should be boiled in covered pots at high heat. The longer the cooking time the higher the loss of valuable substances

-strain boiled plants the soonest possible, otherwise they will turn yellow

-you may want to catch the juice from strained boiled wild plants and vegetables to make a healthy drink. Store the juice in glass jars and refrigerate for 2-3 days. To make a tasty drink, warm the juice and add lemon juice, salt and a little olive oil. The same wild plant juice can be used in soups and sauces.

Source: Myrsini Lambraki “Herbs, Greens, Fruit. The Key to the Mediterranean Diet”, Third Millennium Press Ltd.