Foraging in Provence
One of the wonderful things about living in the countryside in Provence is taking advantage of the free food found all over the landscape. Any amateur forager can benefit without putting their lives at risk! (Although my other half gets quite anxious when I’ve come back with a pile of unidentifiable greens).
Right now, along the roadsides and next to agricultural fields, you’ll see the purple flowers of wild leeks. Unfortunately, once they have flowered it is too late to pick them. However, keep a lookout so that you know what kind of environments they grow in so that you can take advantage next spring. They taste exactly like a mild onion.
Also flowering right now is wild rocket or arugula. These grow everywhere and once you know what they look like you’ll be picking free salads galore! If the plant is in the sun at this time of year the leaves may have become very strong (very peppery!) and perhaps a little too thick to be nice in a salad. A downside to foraging in Provence. The best specimens are the plants in the shade. I eat them all summer long. Make sure to pick the leaves somewhere where you think there aren’t too many dog walkers!
Wild plums are fruiting right now. There are many different varieties and they all vary in acidity and sweetness. I find the yellow plums are your best bet for sweetness but you’ll have to taste to find out. These plums are best for wild plum jam.
A lot of the most tender and easy to eat foraged greens are best harvested in the spring such as dandelion florets, violet leaves, wild broccoli, mustard greens, nettles and so on. However, as many wild plants are flowering right now- look out for edible flowers, fruits, and seeds!
Foraging in Provence Resource
La Association Garrigue Gourmande is the best website I’ve found for comestible wild finds. I check it regularly to find new and even remind myself (as there are so many) of the currently available edible plants sprouting all over Provence.
Check out the abundance of Wild Asparagus to be had in Provence during the Spring months.