True Imperatoria: edible wild herb, rich in properties and benefits. How to recognize it, where to find it and how to use it to prepare natural remedies, liqueurs and recipes.
This edible wild herb is known astrue imperatory. Its botanical name isPeucedanum ostruthium and it is a very common plant in our territory. Peucedanum ostruthium is a spontaneous plant widely used as a grandmother's natural remedy to soothe various ailments, plus it is useful in the kitchen to prepare recipes and liqueurs. Among the natural remedies based on imperatoria, the most common ones go to soothe migraines and intestinal disorders.
True imperatory herb, flowering and properties
The imperatoria true is a perennial plant that blooms in summer, between July and August. You will surely have come across this plant: its flowers are immediately recognizable, have a strong aromatic smell and are characterized by an umbrella shape. In reality, what we call flowers are more complex structures: the umbel inflorescences are composed of 20 - 40 groups of small flowers.
The imperatoria has an erect stem that can reach 80 cm in height. The aromatic smell is concentrated on the rhizome which is rather swollen, the basal leaves sprout at the end of the horizontal rhizome. The leaves have an oval shape and serrated margins.
Where and how to collect the imperatoria
The beauty ofedible wild herbs so widespread is that they can be collected almost anywhere! In general, edible herbs should be harvested in countryside locations away from roads and urban areas.
The imperatorial grass grows spontaneously in uncultivated or even cultivated meadows (as a weed), in fresh mountain woods, in the Alps or in the Apennines.
To take advantage of the properties of the plant, you can collect the young leaves from autumn to spring. The rhizome should be harvested in autumn or spring (never in summer or winter) and dried in the sun after cutting it into several pieces.
Properties of the imperatory herb
Due to its properties and uses in the kitchen, the imperatoria is often considered a medicinal plant. The imperatoria is used for medicinal purposes to combat gastric and intestinal disorders, it is used as a solvent and is useful for body care due to its tonic properties.
In Savoy, the imperatoria is chewed to combat migraines. The younger parts of the plant are used for the preparation of some liqueurs.
True imperative in the kitchen
In the kitchen, the youngest and softest leaves of the imperatorial herb are used. The leaves can be used fresh in salads or cooked and used to make fillings suitable for stuffing ravioli, cannelloni or lasagna. Cooked leaves are great for making omelettes and vegetable meatballs.
Imperatoria, DIY liqueur
With what we commonly call the roots ofPeucedanum ostruthium,you can prepare liqueurs and brandy.
The rhizome, that particular fleshy root that develops underground, once dried, can be used to flavor wine, to prepare liqueur or drinks with tonic properties.
From the roots left to ferment, a brandy with a very particular flavor can be obtained. Those who live in the countryside, as well as many mountaineers, feed on fresh roots and stems in order to take advantage of its digestive and invigorating properties.
Recommended reading for recognizing edible herbs
If you are going to go hunting forwild herbs, wild and edible plants, I recommend purchasing an illustrated guide. The one I prefer and find more complete (in addition to having photos, for each plant the manual explains how to recognize the edible species and how not to get confused with inedible herbs, as well as giving you information on the properties of the plant, the botanical characteristics and ... the uses in cooking with many recipes and natural remedies) is the "Practical Guide" of Vita in Campagna dedicated to good herbs in the kitchen, the guide is divided into two volumes. For more information on the contents and the list of edible herbs treated, I invite you to see the pages:
- Recognize and cook good herbs. Volume 1
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