Category Archives: Forcing

Preparing dandelions for forcing

The weather was a bit milder over the last few days, thawing sufficiently so that I could crowbar dandelion roots from the frozen soil and pot them up ready for winter forcing which will give a never ending supply of delicious, nutritious midwinter greens for free later in the winter (just a little effort)!
Just:
1. Dig up the roots

2. Remove (and eat) any green leaves

3. Plant the roots in soil up to the crown and then cover the crowns in a couple of centimetres of clean sand (I use buckets)

4. Store in the coolest place possible to keep them dormant  (it could also be outside if you don’t have a root cellar)

5. Move to a warmer place ( a cool room works well) a couple of weeks before you need the shoots (keep dark if you want delicious blanched shoots)

(This is the same method you can use for forcing chicory, but to my mind dandelions are even tastier and they sow themselves….and all you have to do is NOT to weed and harvest instead!)

 

Dandelion harvest

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!

Forced blanched Udo Baccalao

Inspired by my visit in the spring to Tokyo’s underground blanching of Udo (Aralia cordata), see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8299, I dug up a couple of roots in the autumn for indoors forcing.  I kept them cold in the cellar until about a month ago and then progressively moving  them first to a cool room at about 10C and then the living room at about 18C when I’m at home  (about the same temperature as down the Udo underground forcing caverns!)
I used them both in salads and also in a mixed vegetable baccalao dish. Baccalao is a Norwegian / Portuguese stew based on dried and salted cod.

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Roots dug up in the autumn and planted in a large bucket which was put in my cold cellar for 4 months

 

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Shoots appearing in my living room with another bucket over the top to keep light out! Note the thin white shoots appearing around the edges…this reminds me of the video from Mountain Gardens telling that Udo spreads by rhizomes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNzCpfSQWks&feature=youtu.be
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Tasty blanched Udo was used to decorate the salad I made for Credo Restaurant in Trondheim during the Kosmorama festival!
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Blanched Udo at the back!

 

 

 

 

 

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I didn’t use all the shoots and I let two continue to grow and was used this week in a Baccalao dish

 

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Ingredients in the Udo Baccalao dish including odds and ends left in the cellar, forced dandelion (top right), Jerusalem artichokes, Udo, chicories, turnips, Tragopogon, burdock, leeks and carrots

 

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Forced blanched dandelions with flower buds

 

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Assembling the baccalao with Udo on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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