How to Prepare Wild Greens

About six months ago I was outside enjoying the crisp fall air with my boys and as they were playing I started to pick some filaree out the lawn for our salad that evening. My almost two year old came up to me, and in a very slow and deliberate manner asked me, “pickin’ lettuce mama?”. Somehow that comment made me fast forward about 12 years to see my two sons telling their future friends and girlfriends about how their crazy mom picks weeds out of their lawn for dinner. I just knew that in our small town, word would get out and, I would be known as the Crazy Weed Eating Mom. That’s all I need!

Then a few months later, I was watching an episode of No Reservations and Tony went to Greece (don’t you love that show?). Anyway he was talking about how foraging for ‘wild greens’ was an important part of the Greek culture. The Greeks believe that eating wild greens in abundance is what has given them such good health. And I flashed back to my days in Tuscany when I saw many little old nonnas out foraging with their sticks for wild greens. All of a sudden picking ‘wild greens’ became romantic again to me. And I vowed to stop saying that I was eating weeds. I’m not going to be the Crazy Weed Eating Mom, I’m going to be a Wild Green Forager. Or so I can hope, you know how teenagers are.

Well, when I posted my entry about wild greens in our yard the other week Linda Prout commented saying that she learned a lot about wild greens when she was living in Turkey and she was kind enough to write about how to prepare them other than just putting them in salads. The knowledge was so good that I didn’t want it to get lost in the comments and I had to share. And if you are interested in learning more, check out Linda’s website and her No Diet Blog.

Some greens are best boiled, some sauteed. For the filaree, the villagers cut it (stem and leaves) in tiny (1/8) inch pieces and saute with minced onion. After, it is drizzled with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and fresh minced garlic.

Heartier greens such as wild mustard and turnip greens are chopped up and boiled, then drained and prepared as above.

Do you cook up mallow? The mallow around here looks like the same variety in the Aegean. It is cooked the same way as the filaree, although often has tomato in it. It ended up being my all-time meze favorite.

All these greens are often topped with whole yogurt flavored with garlic and herbs.

I would love to know what other wild greens you are eating. Any nettles? The Turks were convinced they cured cancer.

I tried Linda’s suggestion on cooking the filaree and it was tasty. We haven’t tried mallow yet, though it does grown in our yard, nor wild mustard and turnip greens.

Are you a wild greens eater? How do you eat them?


Filed under Weeds

5 responses to “How to Prepare Wild Greens

  1. I wish I was bold enough to eat more, but the one we grab regularly is dandelion leaves. They grow like crazy here and most of us hate them. I think they’re pretty! And tasty. Therefore I eat them.

  2. Pingback: Four Years of Marches | A Sonoma Garden

  3. I’ve been harvesting Stinging nettles dehydrating them and make infusions and teas.

  4. Michael


    I got some ‘rapa’ (what i believe to be wild turnip greens, at the local market recently. I found this site in seraching about them, I will keep having a look around!

    Anyway, what do you know concerning the greens being boiled befre fried? I am thinking it could be to release oxalated. What do you think?

    Kind regards,


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