Category Archives: Tubers

Rice lily

Rice lily or riceroot (Fritillaria camschatensis) is a great hardy edimental, and exclusive root vegetable, although don’t expect large yields. The small (but many) sweet tasting tubers 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, grown for its almost black flowers (I’m still trying to establish the yellow flowered variant shown here in Gothenburg Botanical Gardens).  See also my blog post Riceroot and Hog Peanuts (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=480).
It’s currently in full flower, so here’s a few pictures of my biggest expanding patch!

Oxalis triangularis, the False Shamrock….an edimental tuberous house plant

I used to grow Oxalis triangularis, also known as the False Shamrock for the leaves and flowers. It’s also a perfect edimental house plant here as it likes cool indoor temperatures and struggles / goes dormant if it gets too warm.

I was given a couple of plants the other day, surplus to the plant sale at the botanical gardens. Repotting the plants yesterday, I noticed that there were quite a number of sizeable tubers and I had a taste for the first time. I was surprised how sweet they tasted!!

February barl-emm-otto

A multispecies barlemmotto for dinner last night. Barlemmotto? Think risotto made instead with wholegrain BARley and EMMer wheat grains :)  The ingredients are shown with the pictures!

 

Happy Edimentalmas

Merry St.Stephen’s Day (aka Edimentalmas!) to all edimentalists :)
This year’s Xmas dinner had the following tubers: Lathyrus tuberosus, Dioscorea polystachya (tuber and tubercules aka mukago), Madeira vine (anredera) , Dahlia, Carrot (2 varieties), Chorogi, Chinese duck potatoes ( Sagittaria trifolia subsp. leucopeta), Lilium martagon, Scorzonera, Yacon, Potato (Sarpo tominia and King Edward), Oca (Oxalis tuberosa – 4 varieties) and Taro (Colocasia esculenta). Together with nutroast, taro greens, perennial kale and leek this made for a delicious slow christmas dinner!
Norske ingredienser:  Kortreist julemiddag 2018: Nøttestek, med knoller av jordflatbelg, kinesisk yam (knoll og bulbiller / mukago), Madeira-vine, georginer, kinesisk wapato, gulrot, potet, krøll-lilje, scorsonerrot, yacon, 4 sorter oca og  taro….samt taro kål, flerårige kål fra hagen og purre!

 

Long circular Yam

Two years after receiving bulbils of Chinese yam or cinnamon vine (Dioscorea polystachya) from my friend Søren Holt, I was able to harvest this curious tuber! I grew it as an “auedible” house plant….yes, it even makes a noise…as the numerous bulbils fall reverberating on my wooden floor in autumn! The bulbils are the reason it has become an invasive species in North America, the vines swamping native vegetation! The first picture below shows the tuber after its first season….I was quite pleased and was about to eat it when someone encouraged me to wait a year…I’m glad I did!
Although Chinese Yam has been grown in Europe since the middle of the 19th century, it never became popular as the  tubers bury themselves very deep (up to one metre) as in my pot where it went as far down as it could! According to Vilmorin (1920) (see pictures), there were successful attempts to breed varieties that didn’t bury themselves so deep…with round tubers clustering near the surface, but these varieties were not so productive.
Any suggestions for good recipes?

Chinese arrowhead: chestnut and artichoke in one vegetable!

Nothing like the promised “giant” 5-10 cm tubers, I was nevertheless surprised to get maybe 3 times the yield of what I planted of chinese arrowhead tubers – Sagittaria trifolia subsp. leucopeta (syn. S. trifolia var. edulis)…a much bigger yield than when I tried North American wapato (Sagittaria latifolia).
211018: I finally got round to trying some. I didn’t peel them and didn’t trim away the edible shoots and started steaming them (as I usually cook potatoes).  Then halfway through I remembered a post by Alison Tindale (see https://backyardlarder.co.uk/2017/11/ducks-eat-duck-potatoes )  where she mentions that they were slightly bitter after boiling,  I therefore boiled them (to reduce bitterness for the second half).  The verdict: one of the tastiest tubers I’ve ever eaten…the texture is like floury potato, but the taste not unlike chestnuts and yes a slight bitterness of the good sort, adding to the overall taste experience…and to cap it, the shoots taste like artichoke hearts!!
I think I will just steam them the next time!
I hope I will manage to overwinter them as I really need to grow more next year! I’m trying to overwinter in the cellar (about 3C and dark), on a window sill in a cool room and in my pond about 10 cm deep to protect  from the worst frost…maybe also covered with spruce branches!

Potato harvest at Væres Venner

The first small potato harvest in KVANN’s (Norwegian Seed Savers) vegetable sanctuary at Væres Venner Community garden.
I planted 10 varieties of potatoes in the spring…these were virus-free mini-seed potatoes offered to members. They were planted close at about 15 cm apart to produce full size seed potatoes for the 2019 season!
The varieties were a mixture of old Norwegian heirlooms and modern day varieties. The following Norwegian page gives the background for all the varieties seen here: http://www.norwegianseedsavers.no/potet-bestilling/

Kurrajong: a house tree with edible roots!

Kurrajong is an Australian tree, Brachychiton populneus, which along with other species of the genus make interesting house plants due to their interesting leaves. Kurrajong leaves resemble poplar leaves as the epithet populneus suggests. It’s a common tree of sandy plains in Eastern Australia. The seeds are remarkably nutritious and were popular Aborigine tucker (wild gathered food).  It is unlikely I will ever be able to harvest seed of this tree in the Malvaceae (mallow family), but Rowan White on the Radix Root Crops FB group reminded me that the swollen roots of young trees could also be eaten.  My tree wasn’t exactly young at 9 years (seed propagated along with Brachychiton acerifolius),  when I first decided to have a go in 2012, at the same time as I moved it to a bigger pot…

There were 3 young roots worth trying so I harvested them and baked them in their skins together with potatoes. They seem to need a bit longer than potatoes. The skins peeled easily off after baking and they were crispy with a good mild taste. If you have a ready supply of seed, they can be grown and harvested a bit like carrots when quite young!

This spring the tree died (at 15 years old) with no sign of life in the above ground parts, but when disposing of the plant I noticed that the young roots looked healthy, so I harvested them and repotted the remainder of the root to see if it might resprout and after several weeks in the window sill it now has fresh leaves, so not dead after all!

I didn’t get round to eat the young roots…they were left inside for a month and looked withered and inedible, but cutting in to one it looked good inside and indeed it was tasty and almost free from fibre….so we ate it in a stir-fry dish last night!