Category Archives: Onions

Geirlauk

Sand leek (rocambole) or Allium scorodoprasum gives bigger yields here than leeks, so it’s not surprising to learn that this perennial onion was probably cultivated by the Vikings (it is found naturalised near many old Viking settlements in Scandinavia) and I believe it is the original “geirlauk” (meaning spear onion) and the root of the word garlic in English… See also pages 215-217 in my book!
I hadn’t noticed the red base to the stems seen in these pictures before…
I used it in a quick scrambled egg dish together with Amish onion (Allium x proliferum), sorrel flower shoots, ground elder (Aegopodium), nettle (Urtica dioica),  Hydrophyllum virginianum (water leaf) with golpar spice.
These pictures can also be seen on my 700 plus album of Allium pictures on Facebook here….http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11254
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P1730104 Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) flowering stems

 

 

 

 

Naturalised Allium victorialis in Hardanger, Norway

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations).  It’s found in a damp wood (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven. Please refer to my book Around the World in 80 plants for more information about this fantastic onion!! This onion can grow both in shady and full sun localities:

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In a local garden

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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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Persian shallot confusion!

I’ve also harvested onions of Allium stipitatum “Album”, one of the so-called Ornamental onions…but for those in the know also a fantastic Edimental onion. I bought this one as Allium rosenbachianum “Album” from Taylor’s bulbs in 2009. My friend, THE onion man,Mark McDonough​ tentatively ID’d it rather as Allium stipitatum “Album” – a bit disappointed as I’d just discovered a paper documenting the traditional use of the young leaves of rosenbachianum in traditional soup dishes in Tajikistan (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=6578). However, stipitatum is one of at least 3 species of onion of which the bulbs are harvested, sliced and dried and sold as Persian shallots around the world. I’d earlier blogged about a second tall edimental onion I was growing; ID’d by Dutch onion grower Wietse Mellema​ as probably Allium altissimum (but bought as Allium hirtifolium “Album”) (see my blog A Year in the life of the Persian Shallot – http://tinyurl.com/jexyak7 and
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=893). However, Wietse commented this summer that he didn’t think it was altissimum….so still unsure what this is…
Anyway, I harvested the largest onions, replanted the smaller ones and they are now drying along with apples above my wood stove…must remember to mark them as onions when dried this year as the last time I did this somebody ate one thinking they were apples ;)

I also discovered that the roots that the bulbs had already put down in preparation of spring were tasty and crunchy…. to be used in tonight’s salad!

More seed for stratifying

An early Xmas present from Alexander Naumenko! Thanks!
Several new very interesting Alliums, Taraxacum lilacinum (lilac flowered dandelion…hope they will germinate!), Hyssopus tianschanicus, Tragopogon capitatus, Angelica brevicaulis and Serratula coronata (an important wild edible food plant in the Far East that I’ve been looking for for some time; this species has a very wide geographic distribution and is in the same family as saw-wort/jærtistel, Serratula tinctoria )! Also a nice little book in Russian on the Plants of Kyrgyzstan…P1700098

Allium wallichii seed harvest

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I’m always struck by the beauty of this plant at all stages…the almost black seed pods which are also inky when crushed are wonderful at this time of year…

Illustrating the beauty of this plant even in fruit in early October and the large differences of different accessions of the same species..

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I’m always struck by the beauty of this plant at all stages…the almost black seed pods which are also inky when crushed are wonderful at this time of year…
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I was struck not only by the difference in colour but also the size of the seed pods is much smaller on the accession on the right. The flowers are also quite different

 

Lofoten Victory Onions

Here are a few of my Allium victorialis pictures from the 2014 onion safari to the  Lofoten Islands! The aim was to see the naturalised stands of viking onion / seiersløk on the island Vestvågøy, quite possibly a viking introduction…it grows commonly around the Borg viking museum (on the site of an old viking settlement)…much more in my book on this amazingly tasty, healthy, shade-tolerant and productive onion!

Follow the link to the original FB album:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152404571040860.1073742080.655215859&type=1&l=b45f8fdd13

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Reconstructed viking onion garden with Allium victorialis and Allium schoenoprasum subsp sibiricum (at the Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg)

 

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Large patch of Allium victorialis…amazingly, when I posted this the first time, it turned out that one of my FB friends’ mother had lived in this house until last year :)
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Allium victorialis waiting for the ferry to Røst…purchased at Judiths Urtehage ( a small nursery)
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On Røst, Einar Stamnes had tipped me of a large patch of Allium victorialis in a garden, possibly 100 years old…
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This picture was by print screen on the train on the way to the Lofoten Islands using Google Street View….I revisited a garden where I had found an allée of Allium victorialis along the driveway :) Amazing what you can do with modern technology…
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Onions arriving at our final destination, Skomvær…

 

Løksafari til Lofoten / Onion safari to the Lofoten Islands

The document below is in Norwegian but contains many pictures from my first visit to Vestvågøy in the Lofoten Islands to see the stands of naturalised victory onion (seiersløk), Allium victorialis, including a harvesting trip with Judith van Koesveld (she and her partner Christoph produce a local pesto from the plants). The document also contains an account of a visit to Brynhild Mørkved at the botanical gardens in Tromsø to see the collection of Allium victorialis accessions from different parts of this onion’s extensive range (from the Pyrenees to Japan). Plants vary quite a lot in their form.  Finally, I visited Geir Flatabø in Ulvik (Hardanger) in south west Norway and he showed me the large naturalised stand of this plant next to the Granvin river. There are also a few pictures from a collection of heritage ornamentals at the Lofotmuseet and from a visit to a once great but now derelict garden at Finneset (Steinhagen). All pictures were taken in June 2009.

Download (PDF, 5.61MB)