We occasionally eat wild fish and bacalhau is a favourite made from Norwegian dried cod that can be found in supermarkets here. More or less anything goes in bacalhau (bacalao) and although most people make it in the same way – layers of potato, fish, tomato and onions, often with chili – the Portuguese have hundreds of ways of preparing baccalao (dried cod). Being self-sufficient, detailed recipes aren¨’t useful and we use whatever is available at the moment. Winter is the time for stored bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, and taproots. See below the picture for yesterday’s baccalao ingredients with 14 home grown below surface storage organs plus some greens (I’m pretty sure nobody else had this version of the dish…ever!):
Oca (Oxalis tuberosa): yellow and red varieties
Garlic / hvitløk (Allium sativum)
Wapato (Sagittaria latifolia)
Potato / potet (Solanum tuberosum) – 2 varieties
Jerusalem artichokes / jordskokk (Helianthus tuberosus)
Parsnip / pastinakk (Pastinaca sativa)
Scorzonera / scorsonerrot (Scorzonera hispanica)
Common onion / kepaløk (Allium cepa)
Cacomitl (Tigridia pavonia)
Yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia)
Burdock / storborre (Arctium lappa)
Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia)
Parsnip / pastinakk (Pastinaca sativa) shoots – had started shooting in the cellar
Leaf beets / bladbete (Beta vulgaris var. flavescens) – 3 varieties
Allium nutans (forced in the living room)
plus (not home grown) organic tomatoes, olive oil and olives
(I forgot the dandelion…will add tonight: we make enough that it lasts for several days….and the taste improves!)
When I attended the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Wisconsin in September 2019, I was lucky to be able to attend Sam Thayer’s Wetland Plant Hike along the Mississippi during which the highlight was the demonstration of wapato harvest. Look out for the video I took that day in a post in the next few days. Earlier this week found me harvesting my own wapato, grown in large tubs in the garden….an altogether more invigorating experience, the gardener’s equivalent to winter fjord bathing, as the water temperature was only about 1C (and the following day the water was frozen); I had planned to try locating the tubers by feet the next day, but (fortunately) the thick ice made that difficult (OK, I’m a wimp as I could have broken through the ice with a pick axe ;))
I’m growing both North American wapato (Sagittaria latifolia; picture) and Chinese arrowhead tubers (Sagittaria trifolia) which were originally shop bought.
Two days ago, the latest first frost date was registered in Trondheim for 130 years! This has allowed my oca (Oxalis tuberosa), one of the Lost Crops of the Incas, to develop properly for the first time! This is a short day plant, tuberising late in the season! These were grown in the World Garden at the community garden Væres Venner, one of the gardens in @kvann_norwegianseedsavers Schubelers Network.
An apparent new variety has also turned up and as far as I know no seed has been involved, so I guess it’s a genetic mutation, seemingly halfway between the other two varieties. Of course, I will be replanting this one next year (see the third picture)!
My other pot-grown ocas were moved into my porch extension just before the frost and will be grown on for Xmas harvest as usual.
A gallery of pictures of tubers and roots which were harvested in December when I had a blog-free month!
Here’s 24 of the 26 potato varieties I grew this year. Many are from the national potato preservation project administered by the Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN). 10 different varieties(mini-tubers) which have been cleaned for virus are offered every year. Some of the smaller ones are small as they were started from mini-tubers (used as seed potatoes next year).
The varieties are from left to right:
TOP ROW: Tysk Blå; Eggeplomme; Gjernes potet; Sverre; Rosenpotet; Lange’s potet; Ingeleivs; King Edward Troll
SECOND ROW: Ivar; Blå Kerrs Pink; Gamle Raude; Svart Valdres; Buddhisten fra Snåsa; Ringerikspotet; Svartpotet fra Vegårshei (syn. Blå Kongo); Abundance
BOTTOM ROW: Beate; Rocket; Shetland Black; Sharpe’s Express; Brage; Hroar’s Drege and Sarpo Tominia
I’m not head-banging to the potatoes….honest:
To my surprise, I noticed today that both yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia) and Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia) have managed to flower outside in the garden before I bring them inside for the winter just before the first frost. I’m surprised as the autumn has been colder than normal…maybe this is rather a consequence of the record warmth in June.
I’ve been growing the blight resistent potato Sarpo Tominia every year since 2004 and it’s still going strong, showing no sign of lack of vigour, continuing in full growth right up to the first heavy frosts with fantastic yields. In the UK, this variety was deemed too similar to Sarpo Mira to be continued. However, my observations are that Tominia yields a bit better than Mira here, probably because it is a bit earlier. This makes little difference in the UK, but could be significant here in Norway where growth is stopped by early frosts.
Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) administer a national program offering 10 virus cleaned varieties from our national list of some 80 traditonal varieties each year. Members are not allowed to pass these varieties on to others, but can save their own seed potatoes. This is to reduce the spreading of virus and other diseases. We will reoffer most varieties of interest after some years. For the same reason we have also included other popular non-commercial varities in the program and Sarpo Mira has been included for some years now. Members are sent 3 mini-tubers of each variety and these are then used to produce seed potatoes for the following year.
We will now be including Sarpo Tominia in the programme and hope to be able to carry out comparative trials between these two varieties in a couple of years. Here is my harvest yesterday. These were grown in a very shady part of the garden with maximum 1 hour direct sunlight in summer and none when the tubers are forming!
Two years ago I accidentally dug up one of my Queen Anne’s Thistles (Cirsium canum) and I discovered the tubers were quite like the tuberous thistle (Cirsium tuberosum). I’ve now dug them all up, harvested the largest roots and replanted. This really is a great plant: a thornless thistle which yields good size tubers that is also attractive to look at, is popular with pollinators and provides winter food for some bird species (oil rich seeds).
* Edi-avi-ento-mental (edible, ornamental and useful for both avian (birds) and insect pollinators)…the most useful category of plant in my book!
It’s currently in full flower, so here’s a few pictures of my biggest expanding patch!