Category Archives: Perennial vegetable shoots

Noxious pizza

I’m still alive and well after last night’s noxious pizza. I’ll explain. I used pea shoots from the living room, onion, Allium cernuum shoots harvested from the garden (I forgot to include Hablitzia shoots), garlic and chili…on top of the pizza, I added seed of Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), one of the “worst” noxious (invasive) species…

 

Wild “Asparagus” for the king and queen’s 80th birthdays?

I noticed in a recent number (3/2017) of the Norwegian Useful Plants excellent magazine “Sopp og Nyttevekster” a picture on page 41 (picture) accompanying a recipe for “Spring risotto with wild asparagus, sorrel and peas”, but I noticed a familiar plant in the picture which I don’t think is wild aspargus (Asparagus spp.) but rather another one of the 80 plants in my book, Ornithogalum pyrenaicum (Bath asparagus, aspargette in France or Latte di gallina dei Pirenei in Italy). This plant is in the lily family….and is commonly used over its wild range which stretches from the Caucasus through the Mediterranean countries as far north as the UK, where it may have been introduced by the Romans for food near to the city of Bath.
It’s noted in the article that wild asparagus was served to the Norwegian king and queen on their 80th birthdays….but it’s unclear if the picture is of this dish?
This isn’t the first time this species has turned up in Norway as my friend Ove Fosså told me a few years ago that he had found Ornithogalum pyrenaicum being sold as asparagus in a supermarket in Sandnes (Stavanger) and that he’d also noticed it captioned as asparagus in  Norwegian chef Eyvind Hellstrøm’s cookbook Bageteller…thanks to Ove Fosså for this picture:
Ornithogalum_Hellstrøms_Bageteller
Ove also noticed it on the pizza of a cheesemaker friend  “Lise Brunborg ( the cheesemaker who makes the great blue cheese Fønix in Stavanger). It turned out, she had it from her parents’ fridge and they had bought it at Madla Handelslag, a cooperative in Stavanger:
See https://scontent-bru2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13339542_1637168542978165_7831958122115280143_n.jpg?oh=9582cc6e3d56c44d832c448aa7f695f3&oe=5AB6F8BB
Bath asparagus has a mild but different taste but can be used like a wild asparagus!  
Originally the word asparagus is derived from a word meaning simply “spring shoot”.
 

Skirret harvest 2017

A good skirret (sukkerrot) harvest again…I don’t grow much as this perennial root and shoot vegetable is not totally hardy here. I have a few plants along the southern house wall which are covered in winter to protect against hard frost.
More on my blog and book!
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Skirret-chufa stir-fry
 
The tallest skirret challenge
(Nobody has challenged my world record 2.3m skirret)
 
Skirret shoots

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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Kosmorama/ Credo diversity dinner #1

Last night (8th March 2017) was the first of two events I had been asked to take part in celebrating the diversity of vegetables that our area has on offer (or could have on offer) even in winter! The Trondheim Kosmorama international film festival are showing two films related to food. Last night, the film “NOMA: My perfect storm” was shown and around 40 people also bought tickets to a fantastic 10-15 course, 4 hour meal (I lost count) at Trondheim’s NOMA: Credo!
I supplied a number of vegetables for the dinner and these are shown here, several being served for the first time in Norway :)
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All the veggies including Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom flowers)
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Blanched dandelions (løvetann)
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Oca, ulluco, Hablitzia shoots (stjernemelde) and Chicago onio
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Blanched horseradish (top left) with blanched wild dandelion, Aleksandra garlic bulbil sprouts, Chicago onion (Allium cernuum), different types of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) and Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus – green tubers)
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Sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel seed sprouts at the top with blanched horseradish shoots at bottom and blanched wild dandelion on the right

Pepper-root

“Pepperot” is the Norwegian name, also known as common man’s wasabi, it’s horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, a multipurpose, perennial, high yield, very hardy vegetable used not only for the roots but also the spring shoots and delicious edible flowers….Here’s a few pictures of today’s cold harvest!

Nutritional analysis of Hablitzia

My article “Caucasian spinach: the unknown woodlander” was published by Permaculture Magazine 9 years ago in 2007 (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1984 and also my book Around the World in 80 plants). In the meantime this vegetable has become a popular perennial vegetable and forest garden plant grown by thousands around the world, and is perhaps the first new vegetable to become popular thanks to social media and the permaculture movement! At last the results of a project to analyse the nutrient content of this plant have been announced on our Friends of Hablitzia FB group by Leena Nurmi who carried out the work for her masters thesis in Finland! And the news is very good, confirming that Hablitzia (Caucasian Spinach) is not only a fantastic productive perennial vegetable but also is superior to spinach and New Zealand spinach nutritionally and for those who worry about oxalic acid and nitrates, both are within accepted limits!!
Time for a celebration

She writes: “Hello Stephen and other Hablitzia friends! Greetings from Finland. I have done my master’s thesis about Hablitzia “Hablitzia tamnoides – a new but old leafy vegetable of early summer: cold stratification of seeds and nutritional value of leaves”. Now I am writing a scientific article about the nutritional value of Hablitzia. Caucasian spinach contains particularly plenty of carotenoids, folates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Also many other nutritions were larger in Hablitzia than in spinach and New Zealand spianch. In my study the oxalic acid, nitrate, cadmium and lead contents did not outweigh the permissible threshold values. The seeds of Hablitzia need to be stratified either in a cold room or outside during winter in order to germinate. The highest germination rate was 52 %, recorded from the Tampere population stratified at +5 ºC in a cold room. The seeds of Tampere population were picked up in February and sown for stratification in the middle of March. In Finland Hablitzia grows even in Oulu, but wetness of soil kills the plant very easily.”

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Udo farm visit in Tokyo

Here’s an album of my own pictures from our visit to Tokyo’s underground Udo forcing holes…
More about Udo (Aralia cordata) on my web site www.edimentals.com
Thanks again to Ken Minatoya-Yasuda for liaising with the agriculture industry Tourism Division in Tachikawa city!! We were the first Europeans to ask for this particular tour!! Thanks also to Tei Kobayashi for acting as interpreter and great to meet local gardening blogger Joan Lambert Bailey and friends on the day!! We all had a great day I think!!
Please help translating the text on some of the pictures!

Other Udo posts on this blog:
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8284 (Udo cavern video and Tei’s pictures)

http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=7499 (My “The Many Uses of Udo” Permaculture Magazine article and pictures taken by Naturplanteskolen who joined me on the trip!

Homegrown watermelon berries

Streptopus amplexifolius is a shade loving woodland plant known, amongst others, as twistedstalk, wild cucumber and watermelon berry and has an extensive wild range including North America, Europe and East Asia. It has been used traditionally by Native Americans for its edible spring cucumber flavoured shoots and the delicious berries are now in season and I’ve been dining on them recently! I’m saving the seed as I eat! Beware that they can be laxative in large quantities, but it’s unlikely you will be able to grow that many in your forest garden!
060916: Added pictures of Streptopus lanceolatus from Eastern North America and a comparison of the berries with amplexifolius!
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