Category Archives: Winter vegetables

Unpacking the Edimentals Herbarium

Being the focus of an art installation wasn’t something I ever imagined, but since February an installation has been exhibited at the Trondheim Art Museum Gråmølna based on my January winter vegetables and very nicely put together it was too, by a group of international artists working on the Meatigation (get it?) project through the MOREMEATLESSMEAT exhibition. This was designed to stimulate debate on why it is difficult to get Norwegians to reduce their meat consumption in the face of climate change. They visited me in January filmed me harvesting in the cellar, in the living rooms and outside and took away about 30 of my winter vegetables that were then scanned and exhibited with narrative provided by yours truly: JANUARY HERBARIUM
For those that don’t know me, I am more or less 100% self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit all year round without using a greenhouse, additional heating or light (we use far less heating than most) and not owning a freezer. 


Last Sunday  (30th April 2023) between 14 and 16 the closing event focussed on the myth that one cannot avoid importing vegetables in winter here in Norway through the UNPACKING THE EDIMENTALS HERBARIUM event. It was fittingly also the #internationaldayofthedandelion a plant I eat most days year round (forced from roots in winter in my cellar and living rooms). 
To accentuate that vegetable diversity is possible even in cold Norway in winter, with snow showers outside the venue, at a time of year known as the Hungry Gap (I call it the Full Gap as it really can be the time of greatest abundance!) I (#extremesaladman) prepared my most diverse winter/spring salad ever (and probably anywhere) with 163 botanical species, 199 different plants (including cultivars) and in total 211 ingredients (includes different plant parts, such as flowers and leaves from the same plant). I prepared two different looking salads from the same ingredients! The list of ingredients can be found at the bottom (a list was also hung up on the wall so that the participants could read what they were eating!)


The second salad:

The centrepiece of both salads was a complete rosette of the moss-leaved dandelion (Taraxacum tortilobum) in recognition of the International Day of the Dandelion!



I was asked a series of questions and gave answers supported by various plants I’d brought with me:
Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk)
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) 
(both are available most of the winter outside)
Allium pskemense x fistulosum (Wietse’s onion / Wietsesløk)
Allium stipitatum (Persian shallot / Persisk sjalott)
Vicia faba (dried broad beans / bondebønner)
Beta vulgaris “Flavescens” (swiss chard / mangold) 
Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann” (Voss angelica / Vossakvann)
Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann – demonstrating dandichokes / løveskokker and dandinoodles / dandinudler)

The questions were:
BIODIVERSITY: Why is agricultural biodiversity important?
PRESERVATION: Why preserve heritage varieties of edible plants?EMOTION: Why joy, pleasure & humor in food and farming?
WINTER: What could we eat in the winter? Preservation & fresh.
FUTURE: What could a Norwegian food future taste like if plants were at the center?

There were of course also many questions from the participants about what different plants were in the salads.  
I mentioned that the salads were originally not just the result of a slightly mad collectomanic’s work in Malvik but also had an important message.  My second and still current world record salad was made 20 years ago in August 2003 (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=294). It had been inspired by the Mediterranean diet, where ethnobotanical studies on the back of the discovery of the low levels of cardiovascular disease in people eating traditional diets had revealed a huge diversity of plant species used in the Mediterranean region (over 3,000 species). Not only that, but traditional multi species salads, soups, calzones etc., often with over 50 different species had been discovered – more in my book Around the World in 80 plants).
This week just 4 days before the event national broadcaster NRK had published an article once again pointing to the Mediterranean Diet as being the healthiest one! See NRK article.
The previous winter / spring record with 140 ingredients was made for Credo  Restaurantat the Kosmorama Film Festival in 2017. 

PREPARING THE SALAD ON MY BIRTHDAY
The pictures below show me collecting the salad ingredients the day before which was my birthday, what better way of spending the day :)
Picking nettles (which were cooked)
Documenting as I went along!

On the way to the event, waiting at the bus stop with salad and plants as the snow came down!

Pictures from the event (taken by Anne Maisey from TKM Gråmølna):
Organising before the event

The opening talk

Voss Angelica / Vossakvann
Answering questions about the salad ingredients

Wietse’s onion (Allium pskemense x fistulosum and Persian shallot (Allium stipitatum)
Dried broad beans (bondebønner), leaf beets (mangold) and forced chicory (sikori)
Svedjenepe / svedjerova – an old Scandinavian turnip variety grown in the Svedjebruk tradition (slash and burn), A variety that KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) are popularising again in the area in south eastern Norway where this tradition was practised (with Vossakvann roots)
The list of salad plants was hung up next to the salads
An Instagram post
An Instagram post
An Instagram post
 
All the plants (forced Hosta bottom right) and the salads, Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) near the centre

Here is the plant list: 
RAW VEGETABLES
Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder Skvallerkål
Agastache foeniculum Anise hyssop Anisisop
Alchemilla spp Lady’s mantle Marikåpe
Alliaria petiolata Hedge garlic Løkurt
Allium altyncolicum
Allium ampeloprasum Leek Purre
Allium angulosum Mouse garlic
Allium carinatum Keeled garlic Rosenløk
Allium carolinianum
Allium cepa Spring onion Vårløk
Allium cernuum Nodding onion Prærieløk; Chicagoløk
Allium douglasii Douglas onion Douglas-løk
Allium fistulosum Welsh onion Pipeløk
Allium flavum Small yellow onion Doggløk
Allium hymenorrhizum
Allium karilenii
Allium lusitanicum German garlic Kantløk
Allium moly Golden garlic Gull-løk
Allium nutans Blue chives Sibirsk nikkeløk
Allium ochotense Oriental victory onion Orientalsk seiersløk
Allium oleraceum Field garlic Vill-løk
Allium paradoxum var normale Few-flowered leek
Allium paradoxum var paradoxum Few-flowered leek
Allium pskemense
Allium pskemense x fistulosum Wietse’s onion Wietsesløk
Allium ramosum Chinese chives
Allium rubens
Allium sativum Garlic Hvitløk
Allium schoenoprasum Chives Gressløk
Allium scorodoprasum Sand leek Bendelløk
Allium senescens x nutans Hybrid onion Hybridløk
Allium stenodon
Allium tricoccum Ramps
Allium tuberosum Garlic chives Kinagressløk
Allium ursinum Ramsons Ramsløk
Allium victorialis Victory onion Seiersløk
Allium vineale Crow garlic Strandløk
Allium wallichii Jimbur; Nepalese onion Nepal-løk
Allium x cornutum St. Jansuien onion Johannesløk
Allium x proliferum Walking onion Luftløk
Allium zebdanense
Amelanchier alnifolia Saskatoon Matsøtmispel
Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann” Voss Angelica Vossakvann
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow parsley Hundekjeks
Anthriscus sylvestris “Golden Fleece” Cow parsley Hundekjeks
Apium graveolens Celery Selleri
Arabis alpina Alpine rock cress Fjellskrinneblom
Armoracia rusticana Horseradish Pepperrot
Aronia arbutifolia Red chokeberry Rødsurbær
Artemisia dracunculus sativa “German” German tarragon Tysk estragon
Aster scaber Korean aster Koreansk-asters
Atriplex hortensis “Rubra” Orach Rød hagemelde
Berberis vulgaris “Black Berried” Barberry Vanlig Berberis
Beta vulgaris “Red” Beetroot Bete
Beta vulgaris “White” Beetroot Bete
Betula pubescens Downy birch Vanlig bjørk
Bistorta officinalis Bistort Ormerot
Brassica napus napobrassica “Baggens” Swede Kålrot
Brassica oleracea “Daubenton” Perennial kale Flerårige kål
Brassica oleracea “Eiiwig Moes” Perennial kale Flerårige kål
Brassica oleracea “Tree Collards” Perennial kale Flerårige kål
Brassica oleracea “Walsall Allotments” Perennial kale Flerårige kål
Brassica rapa “Gul Finlandsk” Turnip Nepe
Brassica rapa “Målselvnepe” Turnip Nepe
Bunias orientalis Turkish rocket Russekål
Campanula latifolia Giant bellflower Storklokke
Campanula punctata
Campanula trachelium Nettle-leaved bellflower Nesleklokke
Cardamine pentaphylla
Cardamine raphanifolia
Cichorium intybus Chicory Sikkori
Cichorium intybus “Witloof” Chicory Sikkori
Cirsium canum Queen Anne’s thistle Dronning Annes tistel
Cirsium oleraceum Cabbage thistle Kåltistel
Claytonia virginica Spring beauty
Cornus mas Cornelian cherry Vårkornell
Corylus avellana Hazel Hassel
Crambe maritima Sea kale Strandkål
Elaeagnus umbellata Autumn olive Sølvbusk
Epilobium angustifolium “Alba” Rosebay willowherb Hvit geitrams
Fragaria x ananassa Strawberry Jordbær
Hablitzia tamnoides Caucasian spinach Stjernemelde
Helianthus tuberosus “Dagnøytral” Jerusalem artichoke Jordskokk
Helianthus tuberosus “Dave’s Shrine” Jerusalem artichoke Jordskokk
Helianthus tuberosus “Dwarf” Jerusalem artichoke Jordskokk
Helianthus tuberosus “Stampede” Jerusalem artichoke Jordskokk
Hosta sieboldiana Hosta Hosta; bladlilje
Houttuynia cordata Himalayan water creeper Kameleonbusk
Humulus lupulus Hops Humle
Humulus lupulus “Aureus” Golden hops Gullhumle
Hydrophyllum virginianum Virginia waterleaf
Hylotelephium spp. Sedum Sedum
Lepidium sativum
Leucanthemum vulgare Ox-eye Daisy Prestekrage
Levisticum officinale Lovage Løpstikke
Ligularia fischeri Fischer’s Ligularia Fischersnøkketunge
Malus domestica “Aroma” Apple Eple
Melissa officinalis Lemon balm Sitronmelisse
Myrrhis odorata Sweet cicely Spansk kjørvel
Oenanthe javanica Water dropwort, Seri Seri
Origanum vulgare Wild marjoram Bergmynte/Kung
Oxalis acetosella Wood sorrel Gjøksyre
Oxalis triangularis Purple shamrock Triangelgjøksyre
Oxalis triangularis “Fanny” Purple shamrock Triangelgjøksyre
Oxalis tuberosa “Red” Oca Oca
Oxalis tuberosa “Yellow” Oca Oca
Physalis peruviana Goldenberry Barbadoslykt
Phyteuma nigra Black rampion Svartvadderot
Phyteuma spicata Spiked rampion Vadderot
Primula denticulata Kuleprimula
Primula elatior Oxlip Hagenøkleblom
Primula veris Cowslip Marianøkleblom
Primula veris “Macrocalyx” Cowslip Marianøkleblom
Primula vulgaris Primrose Kusymre
Prunus cerasus Sour cherry Surkirsebær
Prunus domestica “Sviskeplomme” Plum Plomme
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser celandine Vårkål
Raphanus sativus Radish Reddik
Rheum palmatum tangeticum Turkey rhubarb Prydrabarbra
Rheum x rhabarbarum “Træna” Rhubarb Rabarbra
Rhodiola rosea Roseroot Rosenrot
Ribes divaricatum “Worcesterberry” Worcesterberry Worcesterbær
Ribes nigrum Blackcurrant Solbær
Ribes sativum Redcurrant Rips
Ribes uva-crispa Gooseberry Stikkelsbær
Rubus idaeus Raspberry Bringebær
Rubus idaeus “Gul” Raspberry Bringebær
Rubus idaeus “White Russian” Raspberry Bringebær
Rubus occidentalis “Black Hawk” Black raspberry Svartbringebær
Rumex acetosa Sorrel Engsyre
Rumex acetosa “Abundance’ Non-flowering sorrel Engsyre
Rumex acetosa “Belleville’ Sorrel Engsyre
Rumex acetosa “Profusion” Non-flowering sorrel Engsyre
Rumex patientia Patience dock Hagesyre
Rumex scutatus Buckler-leaved sorrel Fransksyre
Stachys affinis Chinese artichoke; chorogi Knollsvinerot
Taraxacum albidum White Japanese dandelion
Taraxacum officinale Dandelion Løvetann
Taraxacum tortilobum Moss-leaved dandelion Mosebladet-løvetann
Tigridia pavonia Tiger flower, cacomitl
Tragopogon pratensis Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon Geitskjegg
Tropaeolum tuberosum “Ken Aslet” Mashua Knollblomkarse
Urtica dioica Stinging nettle Brennesle
Vaccinium myrtilus Bilberry Blåbær
Vaccinium uliginosum ssp uliginosum Bog bilberry Blokkebær
Scorzonera hispanica Scorzonera Scorsonerrot, svartrot
COOKED VEGETABLES
Angelica sylvestris “Vicar’s Mead” Wild Angelica Sløke
Anredera cordifolia Madeira vine
Beta vulgaris flavescens “Flaming Pink” Swiss chard Mangold
Beta vulgaris flavescens “Sunset” Swiss chard Mangold
Beta vulgaris flavescens “Swiss Chard” Swiss chard Mangold
Beta vulgaris flavescens “White Silver” Swiss chard Mangold
Conopodium majus Pignut Jordnøtt
Dystaenia takesimana Giant Ulleung celery Ulleung kjempeselleri
Hemerocallis dumortieri Day lily Daglilje
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus Yellow day lily Gul daglilje
Hemerocallis middendorfii Day lily Daglilje
Heracleum sibiricum Siberian hogweed Sibirbjørnekjeks
Lamium album White dead nettle Dauvnesle
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich fern Strutseving
Mertensia ciliata Mountain bell
Oenothera biennis Evening primrose Vanlig Nattlys
Pastanica sativa Parsnip Pastinakk
Polygonatum biflorum American Solomon’s seal Amerika-konvall
Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf coneflower Gjerdesolhatt
Rudbeckia laciniata “Hortensia” Cutleaf coneflower Gjerdesolhatt; Kyss-meg-over-gjerde
Sagittaria latifolia Wapato Wapato
Solanum tuberosum ” Sharpe’s Express” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Blå Kongo” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Carolus” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “King Edward” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Sarpo Mira” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Sarpo Tominia” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Shetland Black” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Troll” Potato Potet
Solanum tuberosum “Tysk Blå” Potato Potet
Tricyrtis latifolia Toad lily Paddelilje
Tricyrtis spp Toad lily Paddelilje
Tropaeolum tuberosum “White” Mashua Knollblomkarse
Urtica dioica Stinging nettle Brennesle
Urtica holosericea Hoary nettle
Urtica kioviensis Marsh nettle Sumpnesle
Urtica platyphylla
LAST MINUTE ADDITIONS
Allium schoenoprasum “Black Isle Blush” Chives Gressløk
Allium validum Swamp onion; Pacific onion Stillehavsløk
Aralia cordata Udo 
Barbarea vulgaris Yellow wintercress Vinterkarse
Campanula glomerata “Alba” Clustered bellflower Toppklokke
Carum carvi Caraway Karve
Coriandrum sativum Coriander Koriander
Lepidium campestre Pepperwort Markkarse
Lepidium latifolium Dittany Strandkarse
Malva alcea Hollyhock mallow Rosekattost
Melissa officinalis “Aurea” Lemon balm Sitronmelisse
Petroselinum crispum Parsley Persille
Sanguisorba minor Salad burnet Pimpernell
Sanguisorba officinalis Great burnet Legeblodtopp
Viola altaica Altai violet Altaifiol
Viola tricolor Heartsease Stemorsblomst, Natt og dag

Many thanks to Liz Dom who lead the event and project leaders Cat Kramer and Zack Denfeld and Anne Maisey from the museum, who took part remotely from Porto in Portugal at the start, for a great collaboration!

Habby Chicago Eggs

I was showing a journalist around the winter edible garden and cellar this morning and dug up some nodding (Chicago) onions (Allium cernuum) and picked a few Hablitzia shoots, so why not turn it into lunch! I sliced an oca (Oxalis tuberosa) in with the vegetables. Scambled Habby Chicago eggs is simple gourmet midwinter food from garden to table in no time!

Cellar and Garden Greens: 6th April 2022

The greens that went into last night’s wholegrain spelt quiche are listed below the picture!
CELLAR: Dystaenia takesimana shoots; Forced hogweed (bjørnekjeks) shoots (Heracleum spp.); Forced Taraxacum (dandelion / løvetann); nederst til høyre: Witloof chicory (sikkori); øverst til høyre: swiss chard (mangold)
GARDEN: Various hybrid onions (Allium senescens x nutans) and Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde)


Dissected dandelion bud

We’ve been eating dandelions for lunch every day now for almost 3 months from the roots dug in the autumn and there’s still loads (see my post in January and February here:  https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=27183 and https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=27343). We basically cut at the base with scissors and yesterday accidentally dissected a flower bud! The dandelions will respond with new leaf and flower shoots. 

Forcing pots of dandelions and other perennial vegetables in the living room; ease of access in what permaculturists call Zone 0

Dissected dandelion flower bud

Forced March Perennial Greens

In order to lengthen the season for harvesting of perennial vegetables, I dig up roots of a selection in the autumn and plant them in garden soil in large buckets (which I have a surplus of through my Allium project, now moved to the botanical gardens). As I explain in the video, all of these can be stored outside exposed to the cold as they are very hardy (minimum about -20C here), but some get a head start by moving into my cold cellar where they start growing slowly in the dark. Welcome to my living room:

These were the forced veggies used one day last week, from top left and across – Heracleum sibiricum (hogweed / bjørnekjeks); Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke); Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel);  Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann); (bottom row): Allium angulosum; Ficaria verna (lesser celandine / vårkål); Allium flavescens and Armoracia rusticana (horseradish / pepperrot); (centre right): wild buckwheat / vill bokhvete shoots – Fagopyrum tataricum)

Still green after the freeze

Since New Year, only one day had been slightly above zero with temperatures regularly below -15C, but then a big shift in the weather happened a few days ago and it’s now 25C warmer than it was a week ago!
It’s interesting to see how hardy some Alliums are, even when not insulated by snow and here are 3 of the most hardy: Allium carinatum (keeled garlic / rosenløk), Allium flavum (small yellow onion / doggløk)  and Allium cernuum (nodding onion /prærieløk) can all be harvested even though the soil is frozen solid. Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) shoots are also developing nicely and I’ll have a few for lunch today along with the onions.

Winter garlic shoots 2020-2021

I started this week sprouting the first garlic bulbils of the winter. Of the garlic varieties I grow, Aleksandra, Estonian Red and Valdres are all very similar (I suspect they may be the same) have the perfect size and number of bulbils for sprouting. I counted 90 bulbils on one typical head this evening. They are planted on ordinary garden soil (picture) and covered with a few cm of sterile soil so that seeds in the soil don’t quickly appear. The pot is put in a kitchen window to sprout and the shoots can be harvested two or three times before they give up.
Some people remove the scapes (flower stems) of hard neck garlic in summer to get a better yield. I have compared the size of garlic on plants with and without removing the scapes and found little or no difference here. I therefore leave the bulbils to develop on most of my plants. For me it maybe adds maybe 50% to the value of the plants, so more than compensates a small yield decrease! The only ones I remove are harvested for the scapes which are delicious in summer stir-fries.



Harvesting winter vegetables before the freeze

I’ve been self-sufficient in fresh vegetables year round and have blogged and lectured about how I can do this even in winter without a greenhouse, without a freezer and without using additional energy apart from my own manual labour :) The most important factor allowing me to do this is the cold cellar under the house where I can store vegetables cold and frost free. None of the common winter leafy green vegetables further south in Europe – kales (grønnkål), chards (mangold) and leek (purre) – can be reliably overwintered outside here, although winters are getting milder. For example, swiss chard is killed by the first hard frosts which due to our northern location last all day (little direct solar warming at this time of year). Usually I’m taken by surprise by hard frosts in early November and there’s a panic digging up vegetables and I often have to use an iron bar to get through the ice layer. Not so this year. Thanks to corona and a very mild first part of November, I’ve had more time for the harvest. Last week I lifted the swedes and turnips and yesterday the parsnips, jerusalem artichokes and carrots. Today, I moved all the swiss chards, celery and chicories (sikkori) to large buckets, planted in soil, ready to move quickly inside later in the week if necessary as colder weather is forecast. In the past I’ve stored these winter vegetables in hand made wooden crates filled with soil. However, after 20 or so winters, they’re no longer usable and I hadn’t got round to making new ones, so I will store in these large plastic buckets, which had been purchased to plant the Allium collection, now with a permanent home at the Ringve botanical garden. 
I’ve also been digging up perennial vegetables for winter forcing. This includes various onions – Allium senescensAllium flavescens, Allium angulosum and Allium cernuum.  In addition, I’ve dug a udo (Aralia cordata) root and also a few ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Hosta “Frances Williams” (sieboldiana). Finally,  I’ve been digging large amounts of my most important winter vegetable, dandelion! (see my 2018 harvest here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20124)
19th November: the next morning it snowed (see the video at the bottom)!

Harvested swiss chards including the Lucullus type and perpetual spinach (all Beta vulgaris var cicla):

Chards with celeries at the beginning:



Self-sufficient in Cress

One of the easiest seed to save is cress /karse (Lepidium sativum). You can grow a lot of seed in a small space, it dries well on the plants and is easy to process, rubbing the seed pods between your fingers in a bowl and then blowing the chaff away outside. I sprout the seed inside during winter and also sow it outside in spring to harvest the young plants for salads and lunch. leaving a few to grow big for seed.