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blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

9 April 2010

Colleja or Silene vulgaris

Quite often we had heard and read about ´tortilla de collejas´ as being a local speciality. Although we have not had a change to try it out anywhere, we can make it ourselves now as somebody pointed out that the Silene vulgaris grows abundantly on our terrain at the moment. It is supposedly one of the best-known and most appreciated ´plantas comestibles´ in the region. Local people prefer to boil the young shoots of this bladder campion before they use them in ´tortillas´ or omelettes or fry them to make ´sobrehusas´ or stir-fries. After reading more about this edible green of the carnation or pink family (Caryophyllacea), we understand that the tender leaves may be eaten raw in salads as well and that it is a highly nutritious plant. Some people describe the flavour as being a mixture of walnuts and cabbage (would explain the Spanish name), others notice a spinach taste. Apparantly this can depend on the type of soil from where it is picked. We´re glad that each year there seems to be a greater variety of interesting plants close to our house as we no longer have the shepherd pass by with his flock. We´re already looking forward to the attractive white flowers of this bladder campions, which English name comes from its distinctive bladder-like seed pods.

Related key words: maidentears, eetbare wilde plant, blaassilene, taubenkropf-leimkraut, gewöhnliches leimkraut, aufgeblasenes leimkraut, knirrkohl, silène enflé

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