Dandelion time has come around again! This is the only dandelion field I can see from the house! Is this the most productive field in the area?
I’ve previously introduced the gourmet part of the dandelion, the dandichoke! I write in my book:
My favourite foraging author “(Samuel Thayer’s) favourite dandelion vegetable is what he calls dandelion crowns, as named originally by Euell Gibbons (1961). I prefer to call them dandichokes, as both these and artichoke hearts are located below the flowers. In the early spring, the very young flowers appear at the surface. The dandichoke is just the self-blanched crown between the top of the root, which is a bit below the surface, and the developing flowers. Although small and difficult to clean, they are very tasty”. See the picture below!
The same applies to another of the 80 in my book, Giant Bellflower (storklokke) which also has a delicious (sweet tasting) self-blanched stem between the root and the surface….bellfower-chokes or, even better in Norwegian, storklokkeskokker! I discovered this accidentally last year! I had earlier noted in my book the sweeter tasting spring shoots after blanching (covering to excude light).
Lots of Hablitzia (stjernemelde), ground elder (skvallerkål), Svenskelauk (a form of Allium fistulosum), sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel), dandelion (løvetann), day lily shoots (daglilje), blanched horseradish shoots (pepperrot) and a variety of Allium victorialis (victory onion, seiersløk) which is the earliest form I grow along with one from the Kola peninsular in northern Russia; other varieties have hardly grown yet!
Onion bhajis are a popular and delicious starter in Indian restaurants and common veggie fast food in supermarkets in the UK. They are basically onions in a gram flour batter which are deep fried in oil. Gram flour is made from chick peas. If I could get it, I would prefer to use broad (fava) bean flour which could be grown here in Norway. I have a lot of (bulb) onions left in the cellar, so decided to make some bhajis…..and with my cellar full of sprouting dandelions I decided to mix some dandelions into the batter for a slightly more healthy meal :)
Great to be home again to nutritious vegetarian food! Presenting this week’s two dishes, each lasting two days: dried broad bean falafels (with golpar spice) and a mixed cellar veggie wholegrain sourdough pizza with masses of forced dandelions and perennial kale shoots!
After 3-4 weeks of snow cover, the weather this week changed dramatically and we had the second warmest February day over the last 100 years with over 10C! Together with rain and wind, almost all of what was close to 50 cm of snow has disappeared. For plants, this has been a very mild winter and the ground has hardly been frozen. As soon as the snow had disappeared I could dig the soil. Some edibles such as nettles and chickweed haven’t been killed by frost. Here are some pictures of (apart from the snowdrops) edibles in the garden today.
The Less than Extreme Salad Man has been in action with the year’s multi-species salad! A few hours before the polar low storm hit and snow covered the greens, I did a forage around the garden, finding about 15 species, mostly onions, but there were fresh dandelions, perennial kales and the first Hablitzia shoots. These were added to a selection of stored vegetables from the cellar, including blanched dandelion and chicory shoots which had grown in the above average temperatures. About 30 different veggies!
Dandelions are one of my favourite winter perennial vegetables. During the summer, wild dandelions sow themselves on my cultivated beds….one of the advantages of having too much open soil! I deliberately let them grow on until late autumn when I dig up some of the roots, others left to grow on to the next year, and plant them in large pots ready to force later in the winter like witloof chicory. I usually force them by moving from storage in my cellar to a cool room in the house where I force them in the dark!
Accidental companions: a Sherpa onion (Allium wallichii) has set up home in the middle of my greek mountain tea (Sideritis syriaca) with a few self-sowed dandelions for good measure! Allium wallichii moves around with rhizomes…I didn’t plant it here!