Spending so much time in the 3 gardens I look after – The Edible Garden; The World and Demonstration Gardens at Væres Venner Community Garden and the Allium Garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim – I don’t get into the surrounding forest so often. Yesterday, we had a fantastic day foraging fungi in the forest nearby in Malvik and the forest shared with us and these will mostly be dried. The following edibles were picked: Winter chanterelle / traktkantarell (grows in damp mossy locations in the forest) Gul trompetsopp / yellow foot (on the edge of bogs) Chantarelle / Kantarell – a bit late for this, but we nevertheless found a few patches Rødgul piggsopp / terracotta hedgehog Piggsopp / hedgehog fungus (Hydnum rufescens)
The fresh fruit season approaches rapidly as the first fruit ripens…wild strawberries (markjordbær) and haskaps (Lonicera edulis). Since the fresh apples ran out early April we’ve been eating delicious rehydrated dried fruit salad every day. We mix different flavours (sour and bitter and sweet) in the same way as in mixed salads. Here are the recipe and ingredients in this year’s “Summer in a Bowl” mix: apples, wild bilberries, raspberries (from the hills and garden), yellow raspberries, redcurrants, saskatoons (Amelanchier), rhubarb, sour cherries and gooseberries! We both made mixed fruit leather and dried the berries as they were (mixed together in the rehydrated mix). I never buy fruit and never use sugar for preserving and don’t own a freezer (by choice).
Rehydrated fruit mix for breakfast every day is delicious:
The first ripening berries of 2021 (wild strawberries and haskaps):
…and the 2021 fruit harvest is very promising with both plums, cherries and apples all covered in flowers in May (pictures and video of the biggest apple tree – Aroma)
One of my favourite perennial vegetables and a fantastic edimental is Aster scaber (nowadays Doellengeria scabra), here harvested in spring in my garden:
In September, in a farmer’s market in Atlanta, Georgia I found packets of dried Aster scaber leaves (I had searched unsuccessfully for chwinamul in other Korean supermarkets, but hadn’t found it before):
On the front of the packet is a WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm!
On the other hand, on the back of the packet it says: “Keep your health with benefits of HAETAE Sangol Hyanggi Namuls”
Is the reason for the cancer warning on the packet due to the fact that the same packet is used for a range of dried vegetables and shiitake mushrooms (namul), including bracken fern which contains a carcinogen, ptaquiloside (however, it is both water-soluble and is destroyed by heat )
I was also surprised to read what would seem to be the excessive pre-preparation by boiling for 20 mins., followed by a soak overnight and then rinsing 7 times, to remove the bitterness. I’ve never detected bitterness and have understood it’s also used in salads. I wonder also why they are known as “thumbs”?
I’ve long had a Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) in the garden without a partner. The oldest is maybe 20 years old. I’ve several times tried to propagate more plants but they always died. I finally got a second plant going thanks to a gardening friend Alvilde who didn’t want hers anymore, but still no fruit, maybe it was a clone of the first one? This spring I took a few sprigs of flowering twigs from a couple of plants at the botanical garden at Ringve and put them next to my two plants. It did the trick as my two bushes were full of fruit this year, but only a few fruit on one of the bushes turned red and probably weren’t fully ripe. Perhaps we’ll make Polish Olives with them? It would be nice with a home grown olive surrogate? See Szczepaniak et al. (2019).
The bushes at Ringve, which were in a warmer and much sunnier spot than in my garden, were, on the other hand, laden with ripe fruit!
Although sour tasting raw, I was intrigued to see what they would taste like dried. My favourite dried fruit are sour cherries. Although not as good as those, I enjoyed the taste and they will this winter be part of my late winter dried fruit mixes that I eat every morning for breakfast once the fresh apples are finished.
There are many varieties of cornelian cherry bred for bigger fruits, there are also pear shaped fruit varieties and yellow cultivars. (Edit: My friend Jesper Bay tells me that there’s also a black fruited variety!) There are also a number of ornamental varieties, such as the wonderful variegated form I once saw laden with fruit in the Oxford Botanical Garden (see the pictures below).
´Elegantnyj´, ´Jalt´, ´Kijevskij´, ´Lukjanovskij´, ´Vydubeckij´ are Russian in origin; ´Devin´, ´Olomoucky, ´Ruzynsky´, ´Sokolnicky´, ´Titus´ are from Czechoslovakia and Slovakia; ´Joliko´ and ´Fruchtal´ are Austrian and ‘Ntoulia 1’ and ‘Ntoulia 2’ are Greek.<
There are also partially self-fertile varieties. Cornus mas has been cultivated commercially for centuries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey has today an important Cornelian cherry industry.
‘Kasanlaker’ is a large fruited cultivar which is available from nurseries in Western Europe.
I remember on a visit to Scandinavia’s oldest forest garden at Holma in Southern Sweden being shown a large Cornus mas in the centre of the city Lund on 1st September 2017! Here’s a picture of various forest gardeners harvesting the fruit (the tree was full):
Oskar M. Szczepaniak, Kobus‑Cisowska, J., Kusek, W. and Przeo, M. 2019. Functional properties of Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.): a comprehensive review. European Food Research and Technology. 245:2071–2087
This week, somewhere in Trøndelag, we stumbled on a large number of chantarelles (kantarell). The aim of the trip was to pick winter chantarelles (traktkantarell) for drying. Imagine our surprise to find a huge number of chantarelles. I’ve never found so many so late in the year! There were many winter chantarelles too, but we decided to pick them next week!
Walking up a very steep slope and suddenly this was the view in front of us:
I neither use sugar nor do I have a freezer. My favourite way of preserving fruit is drying and the quickest way of drying fruit in an oven is by making fruit leather…simply boil the fruit to sterilise and mashing as you boil, then pour into an oven tray and dry for a few hours at about 40C!
Have just finished a batch of redcurrants (rips) and raspberries (bringebær). The raspberries were both wild red raspberries, an old Norwegian yellow (gulbringebær) and a cultivar “White Russian”
See last year’s blog on raspberry / bilberry leather here: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=13187
12th August Added pictures of leather made from cloudberries, bilberries and wild raspberries!
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden