Dandelions are one of my favourite winter perennial vegetables. During the summer, wild dandelions sow themselves on my cultivated beds….one of the advantages of having too much open soil! I deliberately let them grow on until late autumn when I dig up some of the roots, others left to grow on to the next year, and plant them in large pots ready to force later in the winter like witloof chicory. I usually force them by moving from storage in my cellar to a cool room in the house where I force them in the dark!
On the morning of my permaveggies course in Mértola, we did a wild walk into the Bombeira do Guadiana Biodiversity Station where information signs have been put up along a 1km trail informing about the rich local flora and fauna. There were many knowledgeable people in the group so that we managed to identify most of the plants we saw. Following recent rains there were many new shoots but few flowers….but we were lucky to see two species of Asparagus in flower!
In the morning of the masterclass on permaveggies on 1st November 2018 organised by the Janas Ecovillage, we visited Jardim da Condessa D’Edla in collaboration with the Sintra Natural Parks! Fernanda Botelho and myself lead the tour of this amazing place seeking out a large diversity of edible plants, both wild and cultivated :)
As part of the course organised by Ecoaldeias Janas in the village Janas near Sintra in Portugal, Fernanda Botelho collected wild and cultivated plants and here she is making an inventory of all the ingredients, all 50 of them: a typical traditional Mediterranean multi-species salad! Jorge Carona was sitting next to her taking notes!
More work :(
There were again large numbers of perfect Lactarius deterrimus (granmatriske / false saffron milkcap or orange milkcap), which is a mycorrhizal fungus that associates with Norway spruce (gran). I think this is the tastiest of all fungi along with its brother Lactarius deliciosus!! I was surprised to learn on its English wiki page that its taste is often bitter, and it is not highly valued (see its taste is often bitter, and it is not highly valued). Really?
Also picked more porcini (steinsopp/cep) and a little Albatrellus ovinus (fåresopp)
I can’t remember the last time we had a porcini (cep, penny bun) or steinsopp in Norwegian year here, well over 10 years I think!! There are huge amounts for the pickings…and they were all in good condition with almost no insect larvae nor the parasitic fungi (snyltesopp) which makes them inedible.
There were also large amounts of saffron milk caps (matriske) again unusually for the time of year completely free of insect larvae!
Perhaps the warm dry weather was good for the fungi but not the flies!
I had to stop as I was afraid the load would be too much for the bike brakes on the very steep descent home!
Strangely, the most common edible fungi (chantarelle and hedgehog fungus/ kantarell og piggsopp) were almost totally absent!
Now, the job to dry them and return to the woods a couple more times to dry enough for the next porcini year!
Eikeskrubb (Leccinum quercinum / Orange oak bolete) which also grows on aspen :
A productive afternoon in the woods yesterday on the Malvik side of Solemsvåttan with my Swiss helper Julia Albrecht with a good haul of bilberries and the year’s first chantarelles! Yes, I think I live in paradise :)
On Thursday this week we went for a forage locally as I’d heard reports that chantarelles were appearing after the rain….we didn’t see any edible fungi but there were large quantities of bilberries (blåbær), wild raspberries and even a bog where there were unpicked cloudberries, so we transferred our attentions to picking berries!