We had a lovely week on holiday in Turkey at the end of January and managed to find some tasty wild food while we were there. As with all wild food foraging you just need to keep your eyes peeled and you will almost certainly come across something edible. It was winter there but still some goodies to be found.
Our visit to Troy was fascinating – a place of legends and a modern version of the Trojan Horse! There are many levels of ruins as the site was inhabited from around 3000 BC until around 500 AD.
There was loads of wild fennel all around the site. The latin name for fennel is Foeniculum vulgare and it is a member of the celery family. Fennel does look a bit like dill (also part of the celery family) but the characteristic aniseed smell is very noticeable and will help you tell them apart.
In this country we tend to eat the fennel bulb and sometimes cook with the seeds but the leaves and stems are edible too. The leaves have a strong aniseed flavour and have sort of succulent feathery fronds rather than real leaves.
Our trip to Laodicea near Denizli was on a very grey and blustery day – it is an amazing historic site and lots of excavation going on so more buildings and stories will emerge in the future. If you are in the area it is well worth a visit! Laodicea has many buildings in various states of excavation including a colonnaded street almost a kilometre long, a stadium, baths, temples, a gymnasium, two theatres, a council meeting place and a very early Christian church. There was a large Jewish population and also one of earliest Christian centres yet discovered. Laodicea is one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
There was a vast amount of rocket around the site at Laodicea and we picked some to go with our packed lunch, much to the amusement of our fellow travellers! The cultivated variety Eruca sativa has white flowers and originated in Italy, as Laodicea was a Roman outpost it is very likely it was introduced from there. Wild rocket is Diplotaxis tenuifolia which has thinner leaves and is a member of the mustard family with yellow flowers.