Today I harvested the year’s first broad beans at the Væres Venner Community Garden where KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) are developing a garden:
I also harvested the first potatoes at home…and the year’s first falafels resulted with new potatoes for dinner. The falafels were flavoured with salt, pepper, shallots, chili and golpar (ground seed of any species of Heracleum or hogweed) which gives a delicious exotic flavour!
Heracleum sibiricum gives the local variant of golpar here…most people have a local variety of hogweed to harvest, even Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) or Tromso palm (H. persicum), the latter giving the most authentic Iranian golpar spice.
Epazote (sitronmelde) used to be called Chenopodium ambrosioides, but has been renamed Dysphania ambrosioides…
It’s a short-lived perennial which can be overwintered in a cool room, resprouting from the roots in spring… It has an “interesting” smell which is reminiscent of turpentine
I must use it more…
From Wikipedia: “Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its supposed carminative properties (less gas), it is also sometimes used to flavor other traditional Mexican dishes as well: it can be used to season quesadillas and sopes (especially those containing huitlacoche), soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chili peppers, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas. It is often used as an herb in white fried rice and an important ingredient for making the green salsa for chilaquiles.”
Heracleum persicum is a giant umbellifer, very closely related to Giant Hogweed another very closely related invasive of more southerly latitudes. We call it Tromsøpalme here as these giant plants might resemble palm trees from afar where they grow in large quantities in the arctic city of Tromsø. I today harvested seed of one last plant remaining after the kommune had strimmed a small coastline stand of this plant, presumably spreading seed everywhere….
The seed is used as an important spice in Iran, something I learned from my friend Saideh Salamati who I credited in my book (she also made an excellent dish of the young shoots at a gathering of foragers here in June). I nowadays use more golpar in my cooking than any other spice…delicious and free!
I made soba with stir-fried golpared veggies and wild fungi for tonight’s dinner. Soba is buckwheat noodles. Golpar is the Turkish spice usually made from the ground seed of Heracleum persicum (Tromsøpalme). To me the taste of “golpar” made with different Heracleum species isn’t very different. Tonight I used Heracleum maximum seeds fresh harvested from the garden to spice the stir-fry (instead of cumin which I used to use).
I saw cultivation of and ate leaves of Japanese Pepper or sansho (Zanthoxylum piperitum) several times in Japan…these leaves had sprouted in my cellar (pot grown as two attempts at overwintering failed).. more later…