There was me yesterday putting the finishing touches to my book, checking through various reference books to see if I missed anything glaringly. So I picked up a slim volume written by a local guy on the edible greens of the Lunigiana and the Val di Mara, i.e. our local area, and I came across a plant known as Parietaria in Italian (parietaria officinalis). It looked kind of familiar so I googled it and found out that in English it's called Pellitory of the Wall, which I had never heard of either. The German name of 'Aufrechtes Glasskraut' didn't enlighten me either.
Then I started reading up on it, and woah! Not only is that stuff edible, but it has huge health benefits too. But first I had to go and find one, so I said to Eddie the Beagle, I said: "Eddie, we're on a mission!". So I put my shoes on, donned my camouflage gear, explorer helmet, butterfly net and hunting rifle, put my trusted hunting beagle on his lead and stepped through my front door into the great wilderness. It took me a total of about 10 seconds before I spotted the first one simply growing out of our own wall!
and some more:
"Now what do we do with Pellitory of the Wall?" I hear you ask. Well actually pretty much the same as you would with stingy nettles. The taste is similar too. Just use the leaves and young shoots and boil them for a side veg, add them too soups or risottos or any other way you'd use green veg for. A Torta di Verdura, vegetable tart would be nice too I reckon. It has a mild flavour, but it doesn't fall apart too quickly when cooked.
And as for health benefits? To quote from my own book: "This plant has long been valued as an excellent diuretic, increasing urine production to clear the system. Combined with stingy nettle the effect is increased. Drink an infusion of 2 tablespoons of dried herb per litre of water 3 times a day or make an infusion and take 40 drops three times a day. This is helpful to combat metabolic illnesses, including obesity, diabetis and cellulites, rheumatic illnesses, such as gout and arthritis, illnesses of the urinary tract, including gallstones and kidney stones as well as renal inflammations and cystitis and illnesses of the circulatory system, such as high blood pressure and water retention. Externally is used as a wound dressing as disinfectant."
We shall gather a whole load and dry some. Cousin Bart has some arthritis and maybe it'll help him some. The only word of caution, Pellitory is one of the main contributors to hayfever when in flower. If you are a sufferer it maybe wise to avoid direct contact, i.e. let someone else do the picking. Even I got a slightly sniffly nose yesterday when cooking with them and I don't normally suffer allergies at all.