Popular belief has it that wild herbs have a special healing power at the spring equinox.
Depending on the time that has passed since the last leap year, the spring equinox falls on either the 19th, 20th or 21st of March.
Traditionally in South Tyrol, dandelions are pulled up at the beginning of spring. “Zigori” is the common name for dandelions in the alpine region.
Only known as an annoying weed to many, in reality the dandelion is a wonder herb. The dandelion is an excellent spring rejuvenator that rouses the body from its winter sleep again.
As long ago as the Middle Ages it was known as a healing herb. Its leaves contain especially high levels of potassium and vitamin C. Equally, there are bitter compounds in the leaves that stimulate the appetite and promote digestion.
When the first tender leaf rosettes sprout from the dandelion, the farmers’ wives in Partschins head out to take part in the traditional “Zigoristechn”, where young dandelions are pulled from the earth with small, sharp knives and gathered in baskets. The dandelion is harvested together with its roots, as they too are very healthy. Ideally the farmers’ wives harvest the dandelions at the spring equinox for the most healing power.
At home, the “zigori” are washed and the soil is removed from them. The roots are also cleaned and cut into pieces. The women use the leaf rosettes and finely chopped roots to make the traditional “zigori salad”, which is also known as “meadow salad” in South Tyrol. The salad is served with vinegar and oil and also potatoes and a hard-boiled egg.
Bitter makes you fitter
... the dandelion - a superstar among wild herbs! Healthy and good!
The dandelion is a healing plant used in many different culinary, dietary and therapeutic ways. Its bitter substances promote digestion, stimulate the appetite, alleviate bloating, act as a diuretic and help to flush out the kidneys whilst stimulating the metabolism and promoting the secretion of bile.
These bitter substances are sorely needed - especially in spring!
On the plate - but no bitter experience... on the contrary, the taste is amazing!
The young dandelion has many uses. In addition to the traditional zigori salad, marinated dandelion as a light spring dish tastes utterly delicious served with curd cheese pralines and South Tyrolean Speck. This wonder herb is perfect for pasta dishes too, such as green zigori tortelli, supplying the body with fresh vitamins in the process.
Incidentally: in days gone by the South Tyrolean farmers used dried dandelion roots as a coffee substitute, known in South Tyrol as “muggefugg”! To make it the roots were roasted and ground after being dried out.