Wild vegetables from the Kurdish mountains

In the mountains of Kurdistan different kinds of edible plants grow in spring. For many people they are their livelihood.

In Northern Kurdistan, unemployment and poverty are increasing in the Coronavirus crisis. Wild herbs and edible plants collected in the mountains are the only source of income for many people. In Van province, the wild vegetables are sold on handcarts in the streets when there is no curfew.

The plants growing in the region are called Pincarê Helîz, Sirmo, Kereng, Gulik, Revas and Spîtank in Kurdish. They are eaten fresh or preserved for the winter months. In summer they are sold for two to ten liras, in winter they cost between 30 and 150 liras. Since they are as tasty and healthy as they are inexpensive, there is a great demand for them.  

Pincarê Helîz and Sirmo are used as indispensable ingredients in the famous herby cheese of Van. Revas is a kind of wild rhubarb. It is eaten in May and is considered a medicinal plant. Kenger is cooked and eaten immediately or pickled for the winter. Gulik can also be dried for the winter.

Some of these plants are transported to cities like Amed, Adana, Mersin, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya and Tekirdağ for sale.