Eesti Elu
Edible bouquet for the practical Estonian Life
Eestlased Eestis 26 Aug 2017 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Edible bouquet for the practical Estonian
 - pics/2017/08/50262_001_t.jpg

On 20. august Estonia celebrated the 26th anniversary of its reindependence, known as taas/ise/seisvusmis/päev (Reindependence Day). It landed on püha/päev (Sunday) this year, which meant no extra day off work... But happily, that will not be the case for the next 4 years. On that day, we also happened to be celebrating a mere mortal's sünni/päev (birthday) and guests brought tokens of appreciation aka kingitused (gifts), including this söödav kimp (edible bouquet) from a backyard in the Kassi/saba ("Cat's Tail") neighbourhood of Tallinn.
The blossoms are yellow SAIA/LILL (calendula officinalis, pot marigold), which can be eaten in salads or as a garnish, tied around your sore finger, or dried for tea. Saia/lille petals (kroon/lehed) range from yellow to bright orange, they close their blossoms at night, and their name means "white bread flower" in Estonian. They are powerhouses of healing.
Extending outward are stalks of MELISS (melissa officinalis, lemon balm), which makes another yummy tea. Its relative PIPAR/MÜNT is on the left and beneath the õied (blossoms) are the long, lobed leaves of the maitse/taim (herb) Estonians call RUKOLA. It's native to the Vahe/mere (Mediterranean) region, and Italians call it rucola. In Britain and Australia it's known as rocket (from the French roquette) and in North America, you call it arugula, which is also from an Italian dialect. The sõna/raamat (ye old book o' words) claims its official Estonian name is põld-võõrkapsas ("field foreign cabbage"), which is misleading, since it belongs to the sinep (mustard) family, hence its pungent strong flavour. But everyone calls it rukola here anyway.

At the very bottom are the red leaves of punane JÄNESE/KAPSAS (red wood sorrel), which people mistake for ristik (clover) because of its leaves, and therefore also call it õnne/ristik (lucky shamrock). In this kimp (bouquet) we have the decorative, garden, red-leafed variety; in the woods it's green. Both are wonderfully sour and edible, as any karjane (shepherd) can attest to. Perfect in salads and soups. Practical is beautiful! Jätku! May there be enough to eat.

Riina Kindlam, Tallinn
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