Category Archives: Root crops

Tarua

Many years ago,  I visited a Polynesian market in New Zealand and bought some tubers that were called Tarua in the South Pacific Islands…similar but different (and larger) to the more common Taro (Colocasia esculenta). For a plant that supposedly originated from tropical lowland Malaysia, Taro is a surprisingly cold hardy plant making a nice edimental house plant that can be outside in the summer even in my cool climate! I took a Tarua tuber home and grew it as a house plant for some years. It is probably Xanthosoma sagittifolium, also known as Elephant Ears, and closely related to Taro and similarly quite hardy! See the pictures below.

For other posts about Taro, see the links below:
Taro:  An Excellent Edimental House Plant
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=5738

The Lotus effect on Taro leaves: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=5732

25 Edible Tubers of 16 species: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3365

A Nepalese Feast in Malvik (including the preparation of taro leaves Nepalese style!)   http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=6593

Rapunsel

Phyteuma spicatum is the most popular bee plant in my garden at the moment and a great edimental….a very old root vegetable in Europe, mentioned already by Gerard’s Herball from 1597, but best known as a vegetable in France and Germany.
These pictures are from a bed in my garden where I originally planted Phyteuma nigrum (P. spicatum subsp. nigra) many years ago. It must have crossed with other plants elsewhere in my garden as there’s now a range of colours from white to almost black!
The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!

This video was taken in June 2016 during the big diamond back moth invasion..

Centretown United Church and Ottawa snowchokes

Last night, the wonderful folks of Ottawa had what was advertised as “A night with Stephen Barstow”.  A great communicative crowd too and thanks for making my book load considerably lighter! I’ll come back and finish my story sometime soon :)
Last time I was in the city I talked in All Saints Church! Thanks all! Hope to see many more perennials next time!

Extreme winter record salad

 

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Proof one more time that north is best for growing a diversity of tasty salad greens ;)  Presenting (and claiming) my new world winter salad diversity record, a salad with over 140 ingredients all harvested locally without using any additional energy than is available in my house and cellar (no greenhouse; no freezer; no fermenting involved and only dried fruit and seed used apart from fresh vegetables!). Despite the snow cover I was able to harvest some 20-30 edibles outside. More on how this can be done will be the subject of a separate post!

The salad was presented and eagerly devoured by those who had bought tickets for the Gourmet Cinema event on 9th March 2017 as part of the Trondheim Kosmorama Film Festival! It went so quickly, I didn’t even get a taste myself!

The film was followed by a Food talk with a panel including the film’s director Michael Schwarz, the head chef at Credo Heidi Bjerkan, myself and Carl Erik Nielsen Østlund, the owner of the biodynamic organic farm that supplies much of the food to Credo, moderated by Yoshi!

http://kosmorama.no/en/2016/12/gourmet-cinema-in-defense-of-food

As Michael Pollan concludes in the film:
Eat Food, Not too much and (as many as possible) mostly vegetables!

The day before, I had prepared a 105 ingredient salad for the festival dinner at Credo restaurant (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10184). While preparing that salad, I made a second salad with the same 105 ingredients…and then added almost 40 additional ingredients that I hadn’t had time to harvest the day before!

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Jicama-ahipa à la Henry quinoa

One of the culinary highlights of the year is the annual Jicama (hee-ka-ma) meal….if you’ve never eaten yam beans or Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus), you haven’t lived!
I grow this subtropical vegetable in my office, which only gets sunlight for maximum 1 hour a day which isn’t optimal conditions (they are usually grown in open fields), but being a climber originates in forests, so it tolerates shade. I grew it’s brother on-climbing Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa) beside it, but that species didn’t produce much (perhaps it’s more sensitive to light?). I also didn’t think the taste was as good.  Both species died down at the end of the year and I harvested the tubers in early January!
Jicama tubers are best eaten raw and are crispy and a little sweet. Being one of the lost crops of the Incas, much more popular in the Americas than in Europe, I served them sliced with a cooked quinoa mix – mixed home grown Quinoa and black-grained Henry quinoa from Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus), flavoured with chilis and lemony sanshō seeds (Zanthoxylum piperitum or Japanese pepper).
NB! Both species, Ahipa and Jicama are normally started from seed which I haven’t succeeded in growing myself!
Day Two: I didn’t eat it all yesterday, I needed a bit more, so I cooked up a third species quinoa, Fat Hen quinoa (Meldestokk quinoa), from the seed of one plant of Fat Hen or Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium album). It was added to yesterday’s to give a Three species quinoa and jicama salad (two pictures added)

Yam daisy aboriginal tuber cultivation

Yam daisy or murnong (Microseris lanceolata) from Australia, harvest outside in Malvik on 12th November 2011. I’ve had lower yields of other crops! Needs a bit of selection, but not an impossible project I think!
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This post is inspired by this video about aboriginal Yam daisy agriculture, introduction of livestock by the Europeans largely destroyed this sustainable agriculture… https://www.farmingsecrets.com/growing-yam-daisies-australias-earliest-agriculture

Rice lily

The smallest of the tubers in yesterday’s dinner (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=9577) was so-called rice lily or riceroot (Fritillaria camschatensis), small (but many) sweet tasting tubers that often lie right on the surface all winter! One of the hardiest plants found in Western North America from Oregon to Alaska, Northern Japan and the Russian Far East…and quite a common ornamental for its almost black flowers…
 
See also my blog post Riceroot and Hog Peanuts (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=480)
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