Tag Archives: Taraxacum

Fascinating fasciated dandelions

I was working at Væres Venner Community Garden yesterday and noticed a deformed (fasciated) dandelion flower. This can be caused by a range of factors including  random genetic mutation, virus and bacterial infections. Damage to the plant’s growing tip and exposure to cold and frost can also cause fasciation and with the very cold weather after a mild start to spring is probably the cause in this case (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasciation). 
Searching around I discovered two other fasciated dandelions! This phenomenon is rare, but I have seen it before a few times. However, I’ve never seen more than one plant affected within a small area before! I photographed each of the plants below and fantasising about making fascinating fasciated dandinoodles* or rather dandi-lasagne as the flower stems are flattened :)
Unfortunately, this mutation doesn’t seem to return in the following year in dandelions..

*Dandinoodles (løvenudler) are made from quickly boiling the flower stems perferably before the flowers open and just mixing with butter or olive oil:



Fasciated Plant #1 had twin or siamese flowers:

Fasciated Plant #2 had 6 flowers on the one stem and a twisted flower stem! Note that the fasciated stem is shorter than the normal flower stems:

Fasciated Plant #3 was different again, this time a single distorted flower (cresting):




 

Cherokee Pizza

AROUND THE WORLD IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN; Part 1 – The Cherokee lands of Eastern North America
The first in a series of dinners from Malvik’s Edible Garden where we “forage” from different parts of the world!

Cherokee Pizza is of course better known as Cherokizza…go on, look it up :). This is the classic Native American Italian dish and it was made in Norway today!   All you need is a good selection of Cherokee wild vegetables:
Appalachian greens / kyss-meg-over-gjerde (Rudbeckia laciniata); see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22018
Nodding onion / prærieløk (Allium cernuum)
Stinging nettle / brennesle (Urtica dioica)
Virginia waterleaf / Indian salad (Hydrophyllum virginianum)
Dandelion / løvetann (Taraxacum spp.) (a giant individual, as you will see from the pictures, growing on seaweed on the sea kale bed)
Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

I used a thick 100% whole grain rye sourdough base for the pizza, so a bit of Denmark in there too!




Quinoa greens

Tonight’s 22 greens from the garden with yacon used in a quinoa stir-fry (with garlic and chili in addition):
Brassica oleracea (perennial kale / flerårig kål)
Hydrophyllum virginianum (waterleaf, indian salad)
Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon / geitskjegg)
Angelica spp. (kvann)
Allium carinatum
Allium ursinum (ramsons / ramsløk) 
Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom)
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde)
Carum carvi (caraway / karve)
Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel)
Polymnia edulis (yacon)
Urtica dioica ( stinging nettle / brennesle)
Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke)
Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål)
Rumex acetosa (sorrel / engsyre)
Dystaenia takesimana (giant Ulleung celery)
Hemerocallis spp. (day lily / daglilje)
Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann)
Rheum ribes
Armoracia rusticana (horseradish / pepperrot)
Allium nutans
Aegopodium podograria (ground elder / skvallerkål)



Slowly Approaching the time of Plenty: Spring!

Tonight’s sourdough pizza greens, all harvested outside after most of  the snow  disappeared during the day. From the top and clockwise; Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål), Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk), Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde), Allium carinatum, Allium senescens (or hybrid), Primula veris (cowslip / marianøkleblom), Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard / løkurt) and Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann)

Sprouts in the cellar

A much warmer winter than normal and I returned home to well developed blanched dandelion shoots in the cellar together with horseradish shoots and the sweet cicely shoots (Myrrhis odorata) had also germinated en masse!  
This post shows the dandelion roots being dug and planted at the end of November: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=23997

RIP The King of the Dandelions, Dandelion Dude Peter Gail

Even though I never met him, I was saddened to learn this morning that one on North Americas leading foragers Peter Gail has died. I first came across him on the old foraging email groups, first Edible Wild in 1999 and later Wild Forager and Forage Ahead…which inspired me to buy his book Dandelion Celebration (1994).  He was the first person I had come across that had actually planted a dandelion bed in his garden and he also organised the National Dandelion Cookoff in Dover, Ohio for many years! You can find the excerpt about Gail from my book Around the World in 80 plants below!
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Excerpt from Around the World in 80 plants:

“I eventually saw the light (about eating dandelions”when I followed a discussion on the ForageAhead email group between two of North
America’s leading foragers ‘Dandelion Dude’ Peter Gail and John Kallas. Gail has written several essays and books about dandelions including his Dandelion Celebration (1994). He also founded the group ‘Defenders of Dandelions’ to provide information to those who want to make their neighbours aware just how good dandelions are and stop the chemical warfare. He has also organised the National Dandelion Cookoff in Dover, Ohio, still going strong since 1993. Gail says he ate dandelions every day, fresh in the summer and in dehydrated form in winter, growing his own from transplanted wild roots on raised beds in his garden for ease of access. Gail has been rightly coined the King of the Dandelions! However, it was John Kallas’ web essay Making Dandelions Palatable that explains how such a bitter weed could be so popular around the world. To start with, Gail admits to thinking he was being poisoned the first time he ate dandelion and Kallas also found them very bitter, but was determined to solve the riddle. He first points out that foraging books downplay the bitterness and thinks that the oft-quoted difference between the first mild leaves in spring and bitter at flowering time is also exaggerated. As a result many people are
disappointed and permanently put off when they sample their first dandelion. I was with him here … He says that as part of his PhD he interviewed old timers in rural Michigan. Dandelions were the most common wild collected food in this group and, no, they weren’t bitter, they said. Upon asking how they prepared the dandelions they explained that the fresh leaves were mixed with bacon grease, bacon, eggs, salt and sometimes vinegar. Incidentally, salade de pissenlit et lardons (salad of dandelion and bacon) is still prepared in France today. In most cultures as you can see in the around-the-world review above, dandelions are almost never eaten fresh alone.”

2nd May Abundance

The change from winter to spring abundance happens very quickly…here’s last nights haul for a very green pasta sauce (it took about 30 mins from garden to table, fast slow food), including the following stars of spring:
Hablitzia
Allium nutans
Allium sativum (garlic)
Rumex acetosa (sorrel)
Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower)
Aegopodium (ground elder)
Alliaria (hedge mustard)
Angelica archangelica
Heracleum (hogweed greens and seed spice)
Urtica dioica (nettle)
Taraxacum (dandelion)
Carum carvi (caraway greens)
Tragopogon pratensis greens (Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon)
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Taraxocks ;)

These were what were waiting in my post box this morning and I’ve been wearing a stupid grin ever since ;) ;) :)
Someone who was at my talk at the Hurdal Ecovillage earlier this year had been inspired enough to knit these wonderful socks for me!!
She wrote: “As you clearly already have green fingers, I thought it would probably be fun for you to have green toes and feet too!!”
Probably inspired by a cross of my Aster scaber story: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3103
…and my moss-leaved dandelion T-shirt story…