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Foraging on the WEP trail

Collecting wild edible plants on a rainy day

Despite the low rainfall level this winter season in Lebanon, not exceeding the general yearly average, spring season in the West Bekaa was green enough to allow nature and food lovers visit the Wild Edible Plant (WEP) trail on Darb el Karam, even for a limited time.

A day on the WEP trail event organized on March 18, 2018

The mountains and fields of the villages on Darb el Karam were generous with the variety of wild edible plants they offered for the visitors from “qorra” to “balghassoun” and “dardar” and “khebbeyzeh, qors aanneh, mesheh, hindbeh”* and others. Darb el Karam local guides explained how to identify these plants and prepare them according to traditional recipes popular in their villages.

“dardar” leaves are harvested when still tender

It is not a coincidence that the Christian Lent season falls in early spring when all these delicious plants are available! [quote]We prepare a diversity of dishes from salads, omelets, aassoura and vegetarian kebbeh[/quote] said Lina, host and guesthouse owner on Darb el Karam.

Enjoying a traditional lunch on the WEP trail

[quote]I used to go with my mom to the fields when I was a little girl, she taught me all I know about sleeqa.[/quote] said Nabila, WEP local guide on Darb el Karam.

Chef Gail Arnold from New Jersey collecting edible plants with local host Joseph

Chef Gail Arnold who spent two days on the trail was eager to go back home and try some of the recipes she tasted. [quote] I found some dandelion greens here [in the US] and made a dish much like one that Lina taught me…Delicious![/quote]

Yet, one other challenge that WEP are facing, besides weather variability, is the use of herbicides that is killing not only weeds and undesired herbs but also edible and medicinal plants which grow in the orchards.

[quote]Sleeqa is not as abundant as it was before. Farmers are spraying a lot of herbicides in their orchards!![/quote] told us Noha, owner of Ain Zebde guesthouse. In this regards, awareness on sustainable weed management is warranted among farmers to protect soil biology and function while controlling weeds.

Malva sylvestris is commonly known for its versatile medicinal use

Wild edible plants have always been an integral part of the rural Lebanese diet as they are nutritious and most of them are rich in fiber, antioxidants and minerals. Moreover, they are affordable and easily accessible!


*Qorra: watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Balghassoun: garden Anchusa

Dardar: eastern star thistle (Centaurea hyalolepis)

Khebbeyzeh: mallow (Malva sylvestris)

Qors aanneh: eryngo (Eryngium creticum)

Mesheh: salsify (Tragopogon buphtalmoides)

Hindbeh: common chicory (Cichorium intybus)




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