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When many years ago I lost my grandmother I was this one in my family who first started to prepare “Samardala”!

Samardala is a very specific and delicious herb using to prepare so called in Bulgaria Samardala. Samardala is a mix of a white fine salt and the herb Samardala. Already prepared it is very delicious and you can put it over EASTER EGGS, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, butter, Bulgarian Liutenitsa, meat and many others.

In Bulgaria Samardala, as a spice you could find in the region of Nova Zagora, Sliven and Stara Zagora. But I know that you can find it also in the area of Starndja Mountain, which is situated South-East of these regions. Now, usually before Easter, this is the right time of the year when you can rake leaves of Samardala.

My grandmother and I now are preparing Samardala in the following way (look also at numbers on the picture to understand it):

  1. 1. In the main picture you see my small garden of Samardala here in Italy! Years ago I brought seeds of Samardala from Bulgaria and put them in my small garden here in Italy. Samardala needs at least 3-4 years to grow enough before to be ready to pick up leaves.

  2. 2. Young leaves are harvested before ripening of the seed. As you can see if you make a transaction of the leaves you can see that it is like the logo of Mercedes. Wash and dry the leaves. Cut the leaves in not so big peaces. Mix with the fine white salt. Here my grandmother knocked the mix at pounder. At the beginning also I did it in this way but it is very hard for your hands. Now I am doing this in more easy way – I mince the leaves with the meat machine.

  3. 3. Then left the leaves do dry. If the weather is good and the jelly mix is going to dry during the day you can repeat mince and drying more than 1 time in a day. This operation you are continuing doing since Samardala is not absolutely dry. When Samardala mix is a little more dry I pass it with a mixer for fruits. On this way the biggest peaces left will be cuted in a better way and you will have a homogeneous Samardala.

  4. 4. My grandmother was able to prepare ready Samardala (green salt) just only for one day. How she did it I don’t know but nobody can do it like her now. Usually I need some days to dry and prepare Samardala, it depends of the weather a lot.

Store Samardala in well-sealed jars and most opaque containers. Over the time, slightly lost its original bright green color and dark storage slows the process. Although pale, the taste remains exactly the same specific and great. Wonderful seasoning for cooked meat, roasted mushrooms, chicken, potatoes, eggs, rice dishes, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Don’t use fresh leaves for hot cooking!

               5. Here you see my home made Liutenitsa with the receipt of my mother, which I am preparing here in Italy now. :-) Later I will recount you also this one!

When my Samardala gives me enough seeds I think to put the seeds in the some mountain here nearby. So after some more years Italians will wonder what alike is this herb and where it is coming from! ;-)

Good luck to these who will go to rake it! And for others just to feel the good smell of Mimi’s Samardala!

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