Horta, Greens…One Of The Most Popular Dishes

  • by XpatAthens
  • Saturday, 21 February 2015
Horta, Greens…One Of The Most Popular Dishes

Horta, greens…one of the most popular dishes in Greece. There is hardly a meal at home or in a taverna that does not include at least one type of these wild greens. There are many types of horta and the Greeks attribute great values to them, especially on the island of Crete. Those in the know (I am not one of them) can tell them apart, know what they are good for, and which ones have no value or are even inedible.

Some are good for the liver, or kidneys, or cleanse the blood or all three and of course all are good for your digestive system. What fascinates me, living in the country as I do, is that the locals pick them from their own fields after the heavy rains in October-November. They do not grow them - they are collected wild. They always proudly tell you they are wild, even in the tavernas. “They come from the woods, I picked them myself this morning”.

By Greg Birbil

My wife who is of Epirote descent, remembers picking horta with her grandmother from empty lots in Massachusetts - they picked dandelions. I grew up in Brooklyn, not many empty lots and no horta. At least we never picked any.

Let me return to the “horta hunters”. A common sight in the countryside of Greece is a parked car, just off the road - Mercedes, BMW, or some other upscale car. There is a group of well-dressed older people, walking through the fields bent over scouring the ground with a knife in hand and a plastic bag in the other. Unless you realize what they are up to, it is a strange sight. Nevertheless these “horta hunters”, usually city folk, are having a great day out searching for their delicious greens. Remember, these are not poor people adding to their meager foods, but well to do people making the effort to have the delicious, beneficial greens that they grew up with.

If you are driving around the country side and see these “hunters”, you might want to join them, but make sure the field you pick horta from has not been recently used by sheep and goats, it might affect the taste.

To read more, please visit gourmed.gr