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Add a punch to your meals: 7 Edible wild herbs in SA you need to know about

Discover a new world of ingredients - growing wild in the outdoors.

by: Tessa Purdon | 17 Oct 2018
wild herbs

Did you know that South Africa is the only country in the world to contain an entire floral kingdom? This means that the number of plant species is innumerable - making it a really special place for foraging and finding incredibly delicious edible morsels. 

Here are just some of the many many wild herbs that can be found in various areas around the country. They add a new dimension to cooking and will elevate your dishes like nothing else. 

1. Spekboom 

Spekboom also goes by the names Pork Bush or Elephant’s Food and is great at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It also contains high amounts of Vitamin C - making it a great flu-fighter. The leaves are plump and juicy with a rather tangy, lemony tart taste. This changes slightly though when it's cooked. 

Great for: Adding to pâtés and spreads.

2. African Wormwood
African Wormwood is a very leafy herb and is one of the main ones used to make absinthe. It has a strong perfume-y smell and is rather bitter.

Great for: Drinks and cocktails.

3. Wild Garlic

This herb is probably the most recognisable one from the list because of its pretty and delicate flower. The plant tolerates drought well so it's a good herb to have in water conscious areas. What's nice about wild garlic is that you can eat the entire plant. 

Great for: Adding to sauces, risottos and even eggs

4. Wild rosemary 
Similar to 'common' rosemary in appearance, wild rosemary is very pungent and should be used sparingly. 

Great for: Spices, salts and rubs.

5. Imphepho (South African Sage)

Imphepho is said to be Africa’s sacred herb as it was one of the first herbs used in traditional healing. Interestingly, it's a plant that is only found in South Africa.

Great for: Adding to chakalaka and infusing in drinks. 

6. Nasturtium 
The most appealing thing about Nasturtium is that its petals are a bright colourful orange, purple and yellow. The flavour is similar to watercress and can often have a spicy note. 

Great for: adding to salads for colour, while the small seeds are a good substitute for capers. 

7. Slangbos
Another name for Slangbos is Seriphium plumosum - a herb that many hikers might be familiar with. It has a soft and feathery appearance. This aromatic plant - with many volatile oils, has been known to be an excellent remedy for chest ailments. 

Great for: adding to salts for extra flavour and aroma.

Want to learn more? Veld and Sea is a Cape Point based enterprise - where they create educational and immersive experiences that celebrate our edible landscape. 

This Summer, they are bringing their workshops into the city and will be hosting events at Botanical Bar in town, where they will be offering their seasonal and sustainable foraging and nature-inspired workshops.

FLOWER WORKSHOP: 27th of Oct 10am-1pm 


WILD HERBS FOR COCKTAILS: 29th Dec 1pm – 4pm

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