Bladder campion is one of the most appreciated and widely used wild edible in Italy and in the Mediterranean region. It’s easy to identify and the young shoots have a delicate flavour that pairs well with almost every other ingredient. It’s mainly used in risotto, omelettes and as a side-dish alone.

Silene vulgaris or Bladder campion flowers
Silene vulgaris, Bladder campion or Maidenstears flowers

Where you can find it?

silene vulgaris distribution
Silene vulgaris distribution (http://linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/di/caryophylla/silen/silevul.html)

Distribution: Eurasian

Habitat: very common in meadows and forest clearings, up to 9,200 ft (2800 m) of altitude. It prefers well drained soils in full sun.

When to harvest?

In springtime and summer (shoots grow again and again if you cut them).

Bladder campion shoots in spring
Bladder campion shoots in spring

How do I use it?

Cooked shoots and leaves: boiled or sauteed with oil, they are an excellent substitute for spinach. Young shoots and leaves are sweet and very agreeable. You can serve it as a side-dish, as filling in savoury tarts and ravioli, in omelettes, in risotto and pasta sauces. Although raw use in salads is frequently reported, it does contain saponins. It’s advisable to cook it, in order to broke down saponins.

Silene vulgaris shoots or young leaves are delicious!
Silene vulgaris shoots or young leaves are delicious!

Storage:

Leaves frozen (lightly cooked).

Propagation:

A very easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil. Grows well in full sun. Seed – sow in early spring or in autumn in situ.

Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke

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