Saturday, 23 May 2009

Vlita (Βλήτα)

In the same patch of soil where we had planted broad beans, my husband planted some onions. The spring rains helped them to sprout more quickly. Along with the thriving onions, little green leaves tinged with purple began to appear. The amaranth plant (what Greeks call 'vlita') is a perennial in the Mediterranean; it re-grows each year without any help (just like artichokes) once it has been planted and allowed to seed completely in the previous year.

May 8, 2009

As the amaranth plants grew, they lost their purple tinge. Only the new leaves came out purple. They reminded me of a poinsettia plant.

May 20, 2009

The vlita are added to boiling water. The purple leaves cause the water to turn purple. At their prime (in the spring, when they are perfectly tender and full of moisture), they need about 15 minutes cooking time. This kind of horta is never eaten raw.

May 22, 2009

The first plate of vlita (customarily eaten with boiled potatoes and zucchini, and dressed in olive oil and lemon juice) for the year is a sure sign of summer in Greece. It's amazing what you can get for free if you have a garden (while other people were paying 1.84 euro a kilo today for the same stuff at the supermarket, which includes the heavy stalks, thereby adding weight to your purchase).

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