Category Archives: Cellar vegetables

Japanese Sansai in March

Almost exactly 5 years ago this week I was on a study tour to Japan to look at Sansai production. I’m doing a webinar talk about the trip for Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) on 18th April. Although it’s open for all it will be in Norwegian. If there is interest for it I could repeat in English at some stage, but probably not before next winter. If anyone would like to organise it, please let me know. Otherwise, I may just organise it as the first Edimentals talk!  See https://www.facebook.com/events/1333421547030675
Sansai (meaning mountain vegetables, mostly perennials) are what are essentially previously wild foraged vegetables which are now produced on farms in the lowlands around the cities in Japan, often in greenhouses for all year production – roots are often frozen until they are needed). 
With a little planning one can extend the season for some of the best sansai vegetables by digging up roots in the autumn and planting them in soil in buckets which are stored in my cold cellar (just above 0C this winter), and ready to be brought up into the living room for forcing in winter / spring (they could also be left outside, protected by piling leaves or similar around them – the roots are more exposed to cold in a bucket). For blanching I use a second upturned bucket on top. I’ve now harvested three important sansai veggies which were forced (it took a couple of weeks);
Udo (Aralia cordata): peeled and sliced and eaten as a salad in a sesame oil and soy sauce with roasted sesame seed dressing
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris): steamed for 10 minutes
Urui (Hosta sieboldiana): The blanched shoots are deliciously crispy and mild tasting, perfect with a dipping sauce (sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds and soy sauce)
The sansai were served with fried veggie beetroot burgers (aka blood burgers) which are cooked and grated beetroot mixed with egg and wholegrain emmer flour (with grated onion, garlic, chili, salt and pepper).




 

The winter’s first salad shoot salad

The first winter shoots were harvested from the cellar today. It is almost totally dark in the cellar and currently about +6C. The blanched shoots in the picture are (from L to R) dandelions (løvetann), perennial kales (flerårige kål) and catalogna chicory (sikkori). Otherwise you can see Korean celery (Dystaenia takesimana), perennial celery / fool’s watercress (Apium nodiflorum), turnip (nepe) , carrot (gulrot)  and lemon balm (sitronmelisse).
The salad was decorated with Begonia flowers from the living room!

Falafels and cellar veggie wholegrain pizza!

Great to be home again to nutritious vegetarian food! Presenting this week’s two dishes, each lasting two days: dried broad bean falafels (with golpar spice) and a mixed cellar veggie wholegrain sourdough pizza with masses of forced dandelions and perennial kale shoots!

Harvest (almost) complete

The last 2-3 days I’ve been working hard to harvest and bring in less hardy plants from the garden as it was forecast to be maximum -6C tomorrow, 21st November, the first seriously heavy all day frost! Here’s a tour in pictures of my storage rooms…there are 4 full size rooms in the cellar with concrete floor. In winter, the temperature is typically 2-5C, perfect for storing plants!
..and yes my good intentions to reduce the amount of plants I look after has failed miserably..

211117:  Added pictures of other rooms in the house used to overwinter plants 

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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Tonight’s barlotto

Tonight’s mix of veg for a barlotto (Norw: byggotto) in which you can put what you want.

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Yacon (bottom left) and (middle top) sprouted edible rooted chicory “Cicoria di Chiavari”. The roots had been stored in damp leaf mould in the cellar and had some nice long blanched sprouts…both the roots and sprouts were used

 

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Sprouted edible rooted chicory “Cicoria di Chiavari”

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Barlotto: stir-fry all the vegetables, cook the whole grain barley, mix and serve…

 

Home grown quinoa patties

A long way from home, I composed these Malvik grown quinoa patties tonight and they were pretty damned good! I boiled the quinoa, mixed with fried leek, garlic, chili, Angelica seed spice, salt and pepper and then added some egg so that the mix could be formed into patties, fried over the wood stove and decorated with some colourful greens from the cellar: parsley, a wild celery from New Zealand, Apium nodiflorum (fool’s watercress), unfool’s watercress and chicory “Rossa de Treviso”…

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Lily-chufa-parsley stir fry

Tonight’s dinner was a lily – chufa – parsley stir-fry (chinese style) with buckwheat noodles…

Lily = bulbs of Lilium martagon (Martagon lily), an important forest garden source of carbohydrate, liking the shady conditions of deciduous woodlands

Chufa – the delicious tubers of the grass Cyperus esculentus