Tag Archives: bondebønner

Saint John’s Eve Felafels

Yesterday was St. John’s Eve and many Norwegians (and other Scandinavians) celebrated what is known here as Sankthans or Jonsok with communal bonfires, the big midsummer celebration. Sankt Hans is a short form of Sankt Johannes. There is a special perennial onion which was traditionally harvested on this day in the Netherlands, which I believe to have a much large potential than its current status as a local food crop, as it is so much easier to grow, in particular in areas increasingly suffering from summer droughts and water shortages and avoids common pests of onions and shallots by its early growth and perhaps also resistance. If nothing else, it complements shallots and onions in that it is available much earlier in the year!
There is genetic evidence that St. John’s onion (Johannes-løk) has a unique triparental origin A. × cornutum with three putative parental species, A. cepa, A. pskemense, and A. roylei. Hardiness is probably bestowed by hardy Allium pskemense which has been growing in the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim for many years. A similar hybrid has been found both in Germany, Croatia and India. It was perhaps more widely cultivated in the past and these are just remnant populations. On 21st June I harvested the Croatian accession from the Onion Garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical garden which had been left for two years resulting in hundreds of tightly packed onions and on 22nd June from the World Garden at the Væres Venner Community Garden. I replanted in both gardens single bulbs separated by about 10cm. in a roughly circular patch.
Last night, St. John’s Eve, I started a vegetarian midsummer tradition by making St. John’s Felafels with dried broad beans stored since the autumn and golpar spice (from dried seeds of a mix of Heracleum sp.).
See more about Johannes’ shallot at https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22601

Broad Bean Land Race

First and second harvest of broad beans for drying to eat and next year’s seed. This is my “Væres Venner Mix” land race selected for maximum bean diversity each year –  a joy to work with and candy for the eyes! The first sowing (first picture) were sown on 18th May and harvested on 19th September; the second sowing was on 2nd June and were harvested on 24th September (both were 5 different colour selections from last year’s crop; sown in 5 adjacent rows!)


Green pasta

This is what I had for dinner last night: a Mediterranean-diet style green (wholegrain spelt) pasta dish with wild fungi, annual greens, broad beans, weeds, golpar, chili and epazote (see more on the ingredients used under the picture!).

My daughter, Hazel, peeling away the inedible slime layer of slimy spike-cap (sleipsopp):

We used two mild tasting Russula species (kremler): Broad beans (bondebønner) and swiss chard (mangold) 
Shallots (Finnish heritage variety) which were harvested in September 2022 are still looking good: Sonchus oleraceus (common sow-thistle / haredylle), probably my most used veg at this time of year, even though most consider it a weed! WEEDS ARE TO FEED!


Epazote, wormseed / sitronmelde (Chenopodium ambrosioides), leaves from an 11-year old plant which is overwintered indoors in a cold room down to 3-4C:

Even the guest bed is in use for drying seed! Here is the 2023 crop of golpar (Heracleum spp.) seed :) :
Otherwise, we used courgette, nettle, chili and Hitra Blue organic cheese!

50 and 20 year celebrations

To celebrate our good friends’ Jurgen Wegter and Ingvild Haga’s 50th birthdays together with Meg’s 50-year anniversary of arriving in Europe for the first time (in Southampton near where I lived at the time) as well as my 50 year anniversary of leaving school and a memorable holiday with 20-30 school friends in Newton Ferrers in Devon, we made a special gourmet dinner of green mac-cheese. It had masses of veg mixed in – the year’s first broad beans and swiss chard, chicory, common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Allium senescens leaves, shallots and garlic from last year, rehydrated winter chantarelles, golpar – ground seed of hogweed – Heracleum spp., together with ramsons salt, chili, sun dried tomatoes and mustard, all in a wholegrain spelt white sauce with wholegrain spelt pasta; it was  topped with alpine bistort bulbils). 
Not to be left out, the Extreme Salad Man contributed one of his Meditteranean diet inspired multispecies salads commemorating it is now almost 20 years since he put together a salad from home grown ingredients in Malvik comprising 537 ingredients. something the world hasn’t seen before or since (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18997). The record was set on 24th August 2003. This time there were a mere 106 ingredients….sad to see, but he must be losing it….
Thanks to Jurgen for the salad pictures:

The Extreme Salad Man photographs his latest creation

Red Cheeks and Fingerprints

I harvested two of the more beautiful broad (fava) beans I’ve grown yesterday, both of which originate in Canada. Red Cheek and Fingerprint favas. The diversity of forms, colours and sizes in these beans doesn’t cease to amaze me! I will definitely be trying to maintain these forms within my grex of broad beans (selection for a wide diversity of different forms every year and all planted close together so that they will cross promiscuously)!
Read legendary Will Bonsall’s article on fava beans where he talks about the diversity of forms and his collection of 250 varieties he maintains for Seed Savers Exchange: https://www.mofga.org/resources/beans/favas


Wagtail at the North Pole

North Pole? Yesterday I worked for the first time this year at the Væres Venner Community Garden where KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and I are involved. When I arrived there was a pair of white wagtails (linerle) at the North Pole of the World Garden (I’ve planted mainly perennial vegetables geographically on a 12m diameter garden with the centre representing the north pole, marked by a pile of rocks) :)

Otherwise, honey bees were active on a group of dwarf daffodils (påskeliljer), significantly earlier than other Narcissus:

First serious dig of the year preparing an area for potatoes, removing the last of the couch grass (kveke) roots (I hope) and planted about 30 Sarpo potatoes (Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Tominia). Also sowed broad beans, planted onion sets and caraway root (karve).  
Overwintering of the 100+ fruit, berry and nut trees seems to be very good!

Broad Bean Mix

Broad beans (favas / bondebønner) will easily cross with other varieties that are growing nearby.  In order to keep a variety pure, you need to isolate them physically. I like to have different varieties with different coloured flowers and bean colour in additon to maintaining early yielding varieties such as Express. I’ve found that I can plant different forms close together and if I save separately beans with different colour and bean size and mark for saving plants with particularly nice flower colours, then I can maintain a good mix in the same place. The flower forms below are all growing within a few metres in the Væres Venner community garden. They were grown from the mix of beans saved at the same place in 2018 (first picture). I don’t offer the different forms as named varieties, but as a mix or composite “Væres Venner Mix” so that others can also select for separate forms! Bumble bees were all over the flowers when I was there!




Victory falafels

Falafels can be home grown over most of Norway and if we are serious about climate change should become standar fare in kitchens, restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country.  Dig for VICTORY against climate change!
The ingredients:
Broad beans / fava beans (bondebønner); grown in Malvik and stored dried
Victory onion (seiersløk) grows particularly well in the arctic (or replace with garlic or ramsons)
Golpar (spice from ground seed of any member of the Heracleum genus, including invasive Tromsøpalme, Heracleum persicum)
Barley flour (bygg) – I used100% whole grain
Eggs to bind
Fry in oil (sorry, I used imported olive oil)
(Optional: house grown chilis)
Decoration: Oxalis triangularis
 

Veggie wholegrain pizza with New Zealand Spinach

My daughter asked if we’d like to come and join her and her friend in Napolitana (the village pizza restaurant). We were actually just about to eat pizza with new zealand spinach (NZ spinat), broad beans (bondebønner), Johannes shallots (Sankthans-sjalott), patience dock (hagesyre), sea kale (strandkål) and steinsopp (cep / porcini) topping with Hartington Silver thyme (timian) in the tomato sauce with chili….on a sourdough pizza made with 100% wholegrain barley (bygg), svedjerug (Svedje rye), spelt and emmer wheat.
We ate at home!

Broad bean diversity 2018

Broad (fava) bean diversity 2018! This was the first harvest at Væres Venner community garden in Trondheim! This is the only (and original) bean for making falafel and hummus! We should be growing large areas of this bean here in Norway for food security and climate friendly vegan food. It annoys me how little self-sufficient Norway is in particular in vegetarian food when it doesn’t need to be that way!