Primrose in the kitchen. Not everyone knows that primrose is edible! This perennial species that grows spontaneously throughout the Italian peninsula, has interesting beneficial properties and can be an incredible ingredient to use in the kitchen.
Thereprimroseit is a perennial species whose name derives from the LatinPrimusand indicates that it is among the first plants to bloom, even in the middle of winter: a few temperate days are enough for its small flowers to sprout. Thereprimroseis among theedible wild plantsthat grow in our country, can be found in any region of Italy except Sardinia where it is much rarer.
Where to collect and how to recognize the wild primrose?
The primrose is also recognized for its characteristic growth environment: it thrives in the clearings of the woods! It is recognized for its rosette leaves that rise 5 - 15 cm from the ground. The leaves are bullous because they have a large number of ribs, taper towards the base (they originate in a narrow lamina and gradually take on an ovate-oblong shape) and vary in size (typically they reach from 2 to 5 cm in width and 10 - 15 cm in length).
In the center are formed the flowers that in the speciesprimula vulgaristhey have a corolla of about 3 cm of diameter. The flowers of theprimula vulgaristhey are pale yellow and have 5 heart-shaped petals, therefore, observing the flowers of theprimula vulgarisyou can see 10 rounded tips even if in reality the petals are 5.
When we talk aboutprimroseswe refer to the Primulaceae family, which represent about 500 species. Among these, in Italy, only about twenty spontaneously flourish but the most widespread is theprimula vulgaris. All species and varieties ofprimroses (wild or ornamental primrose) are equallyedible, so is theprimrosecultivated for ornamental purposes but only if it has not been treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
Primrose in the kitchen
The leaves of theprimrosesthey are present throughout the year. For use in the kitchen, we recommend that you collect the developed but still tender leaves. Avoid tearing off the entire plant: only cut off the most tender leaves so the plant will continue to thrive and give new vegetation. Of theprimrosein the kitchen, both still closed flowers (buds) and open flowers and even the leaves are used.
Theleavesmore tender, they are excellent for preparing salads. They have a sweet taste and are very popular withchef and food designerbecause unlike other salads that when wet with the dressing tend to stick together, the leaves of primroses take up a lot of volume in the dish thanks to their boiling. The only precaution: the leaves have many veins so they must be washed well before use because they can accumulate debris and dust.
The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The less young leaves should be blanched in water for 3 - 5 minutes. For a vegetarian dish, just toss them in a pan with a knob of butter and enrich them with cheese or simply season with salt, lemon and oil. The leaves ofprimrosesthey can be used to make fillings or omelettes, just like spinach.
The edible primrose flowers have a pleasant and very delicate flavor. They can be eaten raw in salads, to decorate dishes or to prepare omelettes, fragrant sauces, soups, risottos, pancakes, crepes…. like capers, it is possible to prepare salted primrose flowers.
Primrose based herbal tea
Leaves and flowers, fresh or dried, can be used for infusions and herbal teas. Add 2 - 4 leaves or 6 - 7 flowers to a cup and pour boiling water over it. Wait for the classic infusion times (5 - 10 minutes), filter and serve.
Primrose, medicinal properties
Primrose-based herbal teas facilitate sleep (they have sedative and calming properties, useful against nervousness). Among the other properties of the primrose we mention those expectorant, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, mucolytic…. Thereprimroseit is considered a natural remedy for colds, bronchitis and other inflammations of the airways. The flowers are rich in flavonoids and carotene (provitamin A) while the leaves contain a high amount of vitamin C.