Category Archives: Perennial vegetables

Spring beauty time in the garden!

My spring beauties are flowering in the garden, appearing a little before wood anemones (hvitveis).

The one I grow is Claytonia virginica and last summer I found this monster tuber:

(see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18443)

I still haven’t got round to eating the tubers (Euell Gibbons was a fan!), but I regularly eat the spring leaves and flowers in mixed salads. I would love also to try  other tuberous species like Claytonia caroliniana and C. tuberosa but have never seen a source  :-(

More about spring beauties in Green Deane’s article here: http://www.eattheweeds.com/spring-beauty

Spring Beauty

9th April veggies

Tonight’s garden foraged perennial veggies for an oriental stir-fry!

Lots of Hablitzia (stjernemelde), ground elder (skvallerkål), Svenskelauk (a form of Allium fistulosum), sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), dandelion (løvetann), day lily shoots (daglilje), blanched horseradish shoots (pepperrot) and a variety of Allium victorialis (victory onion, seiersløk) which is the earliest form I grow along with one from the Kola peninsular in northern Russia; other varieties have hardly grown yet!

Hablitzia tour

A tour of my garden on 2nd April 2019 talking about one of my favourite perennial vegetables, Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach). It’s extremely early yielding, productive, tasty, can be grown in complete shade, is very hardy and is nutritionally great too. I have currently about 11 different plants, 6 from old gardens in Scandinavia where people have been using Hablitzia as a spinach and salad crop for over 130 years and three wild accessions from the Caucasus. My oldest plant that you will see in this video was planted in 2002 and I’ve been harvesting since January this year, the reason the shoots are not very long! Nutritionally, Hablitzia is also definitely worth eating and contains particularly plenty of carotenoids, folates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Also many other nutritional components were larger in Hablitzia than in spinach and New Zealand spinach (from a Finnish study). See http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8606

Dandelonion bhajis

Onion bhajis are a popular and delicious starter in Indian restaurants and common veggie fast food in supermarkets in the UK.  They are basically onions in a gram flour batter which are deep fried in oil.  Gram flour is made from chick peas. If I could get it, I would prefer to use broad (fava) bean flour which could be grown here in Norway.  I have a lot of (bulb) onions left in the cellar, so decided to make some bhajis…..and with my cellar full of sprouting dandelions I decided to mix some dandelions into the batter for a slightly more healthy meal :)

 

A visit to a Wasabi farm on the Izu peninsular in Japan

On 3rd April 2016 I was on an amazing study tour in Japan to witness first hand the cultivation of perennial vegetables. These are wild native species which were previously wild foraged in Japan but are now cultivated to meet demands for what is collectively known as sansai (mountain veggies).  There’s a whole section of supermarkets devoted to sansai. The one we are most familiar with in the west is wasabi, but for most of us it is in name only as it is almost always horseradish, mustard and food colouring which are the ingredients of wasabi sauce offered in sushi bars, rather than genuine wasabi (Wasabia japonica).

The farm we visited was on the Izu peninsula, a popular tourist area.  It was one of the most beautiful and naturalistic farms that I’ve witnessed anywhere and could be categorised as a permaculture forest garden with shade-loving wasabi growing in running water diverted from a river into an intricate series of neatly set out beds and intercropped with trees like loquat and other fruit. Most of the work seems to be done manually.

First, a few videos from the farm and below can be found an album of pictures of wasabi and other plants we saw, including at a shrine and associated vegetable garden adjacent to the farm! Wasabi has very narrower ecological requirements to produce well, including shade and running cool mountain spring water.

17th March 2019:  I’m adding three pictures at the bottom of a group of “wild” wasabi plants growing in quite a dry shady environment in the hills near to Toyota in Japan!

 

I’m adding below three pictures of a group of wasabi plants growing in quite a dry shady environment in the hills near to Toyota in Japan:

…and a flowering plant in the Kyoto Botanical Gardens:

February barl-emm-otto

A multispecies barlemmotto for dinner last night. Barlemmotto? Think risotto made instead with wholegrain BARley and EMMer wheat grains :)  The ingredients are shown with the pictures!

 

The first garden forage of the year!

After 3-4 weeks of snow cover,  the weather this week changed dramatically and we had the second warmest February day over the last 100 years with over 10C! Together with rain and wind, almost all of what was close to 50 cm of snow has disappeared. For plants, this has been a very mild winter and the ground has hardly been frozen. As soon as the snow had disappeared I could dig the soil. Some edibles such as nettles and chickweed haven’t been killed by frost. Here are some pictures of (apart from the snowdrops) edibles in the garden today.

Om Scorzonera: en hardfør helårs grønnsak

English speakers: See the summary at the bottom!

Skorsonerrot, svartrot, jordskonnerot eller bondeasparges Scorzonera hispanica er en av de nye rotgrønnsakene som har kommet til Norge de siste årene. De fingertykke røttene med hvitt fruktkjøtt serveres på de beste gourmetrestauranter. Men, dette er en grønnsak som har vært dyrket her til lands helt siden 1600-tallet. Dyrket som flerårig grønnsak kan planter bli gammel (minst 50 år pluss) og alle plantedelene kan spises fra vår-rosettene til de søte blomsterstengelene, blomsterknopper og kronblad. Jeg har tidligere skrevet artikler om denne planten både i Våre Nyttevekster i 2012 og  i min bok Around the World in 80 plants  fra 2014. Dette er en “må-ha” grønnsak i min hage!

De siste årene har det kommet frem mye nytt om denne planten og slektningene i den etnobotaniske litteraturen. Derfor tenkte jeg at det var på tide å oppdatere tidligere artikler og resultatet finner dere nedenfor (på norsk)! Jeg håper det faller i smak!

Om du kjenner til en gammel scorsonerrot plante, ta gjerne kontakt!

Takk til Landbruksdirektoratet som har støttet dette arbeidet gjennom prosjektet «Kartlegging – innsamling- dokumentasjon og vurdering av genetisk mangfold av spiselige planter i Norge»
Takk også til Guri-Kristina Batta Bjørnstad for korrekturlesing og faglige kommentarer!

Download (PDF, 1.74MB)

English Summary:  Scorzonera hispanica is one of the new root vegetables that has come to Norway in recent years. The finger-thick roots with white flesh are served at the best gourmet restaurants. However, this is a vegetable that has been cultivated here in Norway and elsewhere in Europe since the 17th century. Grown as a perennial vegetable, plants can grow old (at least 50 years plus) and all plant parts can be eaten from the spring rosettes to the sweet flower stems, flower buds and petals. I have previously written articles about this plant both in the Norwegian Useful Plants Society journal Våre Nyttevekster in 2012 and in my book Around the World in 80 plants from 2014. This is a “must-have” vegetable in my garden!

In recent years, much new information has emerged about this plant and its relatives in the ethnobotanical literature. Therefore, I thought it was time to update previous articles and the result can be found (in Norwegian) in the link! There is a comprehensive table in the article which is in English summarising the traditional use of this plant in Europe! I hope to translate this into English when I get more time….