One of the most wonderful things of hiking through the Alps are the wild flowers. In summer, petals displaying all colours of the rainbow fill up mountain meadows everywhere, and hikers will find countless different species right next to the hiking trails. Wild flowers surely brighten the trail, did you know that they can also brighten up your salad?
Edible wild flowers
Adding wild flowers to your salad really adds something special. Who wouldn’t enjoy the colourful dish in the blog feature picture? I surely did! The base of the salad is lettuce from the vegetable garden and also the orange Indian cress flowers come from the veggie patch, but the different species of wild flowers come from our mountains. Rosebay willowherbs, common mallows, harebells, wild thyme and oxeye daisy petals all add their wonderful colours to this delicious salad.
Here are five common flowers in the Alps which are easy to recognize and really brighten up your salad:
ROSEBAY WILLOWHERB (Epilobium angustifolium)
The pyramid-shaped inflorescences of rosebay willowherbs are found all over the Alps. It often grows in large colonies and is known in North America as fireweed. The small pinkish flowers do great in a wild flower salad.
HAREBELL (Campanula rotundifolia)
Another common flower that grows all across the Alps is the harebell which has a characteristic bell-shaped flower. It’s flower is delicate, light blue and thin as paper.
The beautiful flowers of mallows grow in clusters and have bright pinkish-purple petals with dark stripes. You’ll often find them growing in meadows, where the tall colourful flowers stand out clearly. Mallows are – like all flowers in this list – very common.
WILD THYME (Thymus serpyllum)
Wild thyme has the smallest flowers of the plants in this list, but it is without a doubt the tastiest. You can add it to your salad freshly picked or dried. It’s also great to cook with. You can add it to a wide variety of dishes.
WOOD SORREL (OXALIS acetosella)
The white flowers, as well as the fresh green leaves, have a delicious sour, fresh taste and serve as wonderful decorations in a salad. You’ll find wood sorrel in humid and shady forests.
Along the trail
Aren’t these flowers just beautiful? They certainly brighten my day just looking at them. If you tour the Chamonix to Zermatt Alpenwild Haute Route and stay at the Hôtel de Moiry in Grimetz, their restaurant uses edible plants in their salads. Be sure to order one when you are there! If you are not able to make it there, hopefully these pictures and descriptions will help you become a wild flower identifying specialist and alpine salad chef, of course! Bon appétit!
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