Light green

How to Biscio: 

Reconnecting with wild flavours and reclaiming our food sovereignty

Biscio4

Here we'll learn how to wildly make Biscio, a traditional recipe from the rural area of Umbria, central Italy.

Biscio means snake beacuse this dish as a snake-like shape. 

Why did I chose this recipe?

Because it is simple, cost free, delicious and its history really fascinates me. In fact, this recipe was made by the women of the rural areas of Umbria. They'd gather, go out in the fields, harvest wild plants and cook together. It was, and in some area it still is, a slow practice which would make everyone happy and nourished.

So here's what we need:

Ingredients:

  • 300 g of flour (any type as long as it binds together and you can create a dough)
  • 200 ml water
  • 10 ml salt (2 tsp) salt
  • any type edible oil
  • wild weeds (see below).
Biscio step1

Before we start it is necessary to look into some foraging considerations 

Instructions2

WILD WEEDS WE NEED FOR THIS RECIPE

Plantsforbiscio
Cards30

Ribwort Plantain, Plantago Lanceolata, Plantago Major

Description:

Ribwort plantain is a very common weed. The leaves grow in a rosette close to the ground and are either oval (broadleaf plantain - Plantago major) or long and lanceolate (Plantago lanceolata). The flowers look like short green-brown-ish spikes on a long tough stem. The main characteristic of Ribwort Plantain is the fact that there are 3 to 5 parallel veins along the length of each leaf and look like white threads if you break the leaves.

Habitat: Ribwort Plantain is defined as a “people plant” or synanthropic plant (meaning “together with humans”) because it thrives where people live. In fact you can spot this weed on trails, paths, gardens, cultivated land and parks. It benefits from disturbed ground (healing it, I’d add). These plants often grow and spread abundantly so they are considered invasive weeds. But most of these weeds are edible too so we should consider them bonus crops at the very least. This plant is originally from Europe and Asia but now it’s global. There are around 200 species of Plantain and many of them are edible.

Cards46

Nettles, Urtica diotica

Description: Nettles are upright perennial plants which reach up to 1.5 meters. The whole above ground plant is covered in stinging hairs. The leaves grow opposite to one another on the stem and are heartshaped with serrated edges. The flowers are tiny green and white and grow along very short stems and ripen into green and brown seeds.

Habitat: Nettles grow in waste grounds and nitrogenrich damp soils in open sun or shady places. Different species of Nettles grow across most areas of the world, with exception of the arid dry regions

Cards54

Chicory, Cichorium intybus

Description: Chicory is a perennial plant in the dandelion family Asteraceae. The leaves are lanceolate (shaped like a lance). This herb grows from a large and deep root producing a basal rosette of leaves which look pretty much like dandelion leaves (in fact dandelion is chicory’s relative.) The main difference between chicory and dandelion leaves is that the former has hairs on the vein in the middle of its leaves whereas dandelion leaves are hairless. In early spring, the leaves may lack lobes whereas when they grow they are deeply lobed. Later on in the season, Chicory produces a thin and tough stalk with a small number of branches that zigzag between their multiple flowering heads. The flowers are usually blue and occasionally slightly pink or white and consist of ray florets only (no disk in the middle).

Habitat: Chicory requires full-sun, well-drained soil and disturbed ground. These conditions occur on the shoulders of roads, in previously farmed fields and in parks. Chicory can be found throughout Europe, United States and Canada. In some regions is an abundant and almost invasive weed, in others is inexplicably absent.

Cards18

Dandelion, Taraxacum Officinale

Description: Dandelion is a perennial plant, with long and deeply lobed leaves; each flower is erected on a hollow stem and are golden-yellow numerous fine petals. The plant exudes a milky sap when you break the leaves or the sems. The seeds are joined together in a soft ball and spread when windy.

Habitat: Dandelion is one of the most common weeds in our parks, gardens and waste grounds. It can be found throughout Europe, USA, Canada and in some parts of Asia. In late spring it covers almost any grassy places with its flowers and then with its “soft balls” of seeds.

Cards26

Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata

Description: Garlic Mustard, also commonly known as Jack-by-the-hedge, is a biennial plant with bright green heart-shaped leaves with bluntly toothed edges. The younger and lower leaves are more rounded whereas the upper leaves more pointedly so. The flowers have four white petals and are tiny and clustered together. The leaves, when crushed, smell of garlic.

Habitat: Garlic Mustard is found in woodland edges, shady gardens and hedgerows. It can be found abundantly throughout Europe, USA, Canada and some parts of Asia.

20210508 104112