Jens Holmboe’s book “Gratis mat av ville planter” (Free food from wild plants) from 1941 is still my favourite Norwegian book on wild food as it is well researched and includes a number of interesting anecdotes. I’ve had a photocopy of the whole book for many years (I think I borrowed it from my friend Jan Erik Kofoed and copied it at work in the 1980s). I finally own a copy of the book from the 2016 reprint! It had somehow passed me by that it was available! Thanks to Hanne Edvardsen from Trondheim Nyttevekstforening who gave me a copy at the recent Ringve Botanical Garden Open Day!
Interestingly, it does include the hogweeds / bjørnekjeks (Heracleum) including giant Tromsøpalme (Heracleum persicum, source of the spice golpar and a vegetable in Iran). However, I don’t think he could have tasted the latter when he wrote: “….skal være så besk at den neppe er å anbefale til folkemat” (…is apparently so bitter that it can hardly be recommended as food). Similarly, he mentions that Heracleum sibiricum is sometimes recommended for soups , together with other herbs….and it is likely to be too strong tasting for most people.
He writes about kvann (Angelica archangelica) as a wel known food plant in Norway right back to the time of the Vikings. He talks about it still being cultivated in Voss (and perhaps other places in western Norway). He encourages the use of roots as a nutritous food and indicates that some people like their bitter taste, others not. Unlike some books he also says that the subspecies litoralis (found on the coast of Norway) can also be used. He also says that Angelica sylvestris is much used in northern Norway and that it is less bitter!
7 years ago (11th August 2011) and 40-50 people from the Trondheim Useful Plants Society (Nyttevekstforeningen) turned up for a walk and talk in my garden, including two journalists. Bente Haarstads pictures can be seen here: https://bentehaarstad.photoshelter.com/gallery/Edible-plants-Stephen-Barstows-garden/G0000yLcSVBDTqqI
Bjørg Hernes from local paper Malvikbladet wrote an article about the event which included a salad made with (only) 30 edibles to commemorate my 30 year anniversary of veggie growing in Malvik!
This was also the event when Saideh, originally from Iran surprised us all telling us that she ate naturalised invasive Tromsøpalme (Heracleum persicum) collected in the centre of Trondheim…this encounter was later related in my book and Saideh kindly provided recipes!
Below the pictures is a list of ingredients!
List of ingredients:
Adenophora Ex- Amethyst (blomst);Ladybells;
Aegopodium podagraria;Ground Elder;Skvallerkål
Agastache anisata (blomst);Anise Hyssop;Anisisop
Agastache anisata alba (blomst);Anise Hyssop;Anisisop
Thanks to my visitors Berit Børte and Ane Mari Aakernes for this “lovely” omelette this evening….dandelion flower buds and fiddleheads, ramsons, chili and Heracleum persicum spice (golpar) in the omelette!
Indian bhajis are a popular snack or side dish in UK Indian restaurants…deep fried onions in a batter made of chick pea flour with various spices usually including cumin, coriander, black onion seed or kalonji (Nigella sativa), I replaced the cumin with golpar (ground seed of Heracleum persicum collected from a wild stand in Trondheim)! Delicious!
P.S: Mental note: try with broad bean flour!
As I suggested earlier today, veggie quiche would be tonight’s dinner (as two years ago on this day) now that I’m back here in Malvik :)
With cold weather getting colder and the forecast insulating snow not happening, I spent the day harvesting before it’s impossible to dig the soil!
The quiche turned into an invasive (svartelistet) quiche as it contains giant hogweed (Tromsøpalme) seed spice (golpar) and this year it is topped with dried Himalayan Balsam (kjempespringfrø) seed, two of the “worst” invasive species here in Norway and other parts of Europe :) Other veg includes leek, parsley, garlic and chili.
The pie crust was made of whole grain fine naked barley flour (Hordeum vulgare var. nudum).
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!