Tag Archives: KVANN

Myoga shoots and propagation

I wrote about harvesting and eating myoga (Japanese ginger / Zingiber mioga) here in Malvik for the first time in 2020 here:
It was grown in a cold room in the house all year as previous experience had shown that outside plants managed to survive our winter but that the plants started sprouting very late (June) and hardly grew during the summer. I suspect that although they are relatively hardy they need much warmer summer temperatures than we can offer in this part of Norway.
I decided to repot my plant today and also divide so that I can offer to a few members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) to try mainly in the warmer parts of Norway.
While transplanting I accidentally knocked off a couple of shoots, so I had a little taste at lunch with an olive oil / soy sauce dressing. Crunchy and mild tasting!

THE NEW EDIMENTALS SEED TRADE LIST FOR 2021-2022

WELCOME TO MY NEW SEED TRADE LIST FOR WINTER 2021-22, THIS YEAR WITH 323 VARIETIES
19, 20, 21 indicate the harvesting year for the seed. Concerning seed quantity: as I don’t have many plants of each species, seed quantity is limited in most cases. Therefore, for some species you may only get a few seeds. Many species are harvested in my garden. Others are surplus from trade and purchase. OUT: Means out of stock.  NB! Cultivars do not always come true. I offer them anyway, but no guarantees to what you will get!  
NOTE: I don’t sell seed and I won’t be doing many trades this winter due to a busy schedule. However, I offer all plus to members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our spring (February) “yearbook” and autumn catalogue. To become a member go to https://kvann.no/bli-med. It costs only kr. 250 / year plus postage and packing.
For trades, I am mainly interested in uncommon hardy perennials, but I may also be interested in annuals.
NB! Not all plants in this list are edible, although almost all are!
Botanical name / Cultivar / Year of Harvest / Info
Abelmoschus esculentus Silver Queen 19
Agastache foeniculum 19
Agastache foeniculum Alba 20
Alcea rosea 21
Allium aflatunense 20
Allium altissimum 20
Allium amphibolum 21
Allium anisotepalum 19
Allium atropurpureum 20
Allium atroviolaceum 20
Allium bekeczalicum 19
Allium bekeczalicum x alaicum 19
Allium brevicaule 19
Allium canadense 21
Allium carinatum Pulchellum 19
Allium carinatum Pulchellum Album 19
Allium carolinianum 21
Allium cepa Newburg onion 19
Allium cepa Rossa Lunga di Firenze 19
Allium cepa Green Bunattina 20
Allium cepa Ishikura 20
Allium cepa Lafort 20
Allium cepa Lava 20
Allium cepa Laskala 20
Allium cepa Musona Alpina 19
Allium cepa White Lisbon 20
Allium cepa White Lisbon Winter Hardy 20
Allium cepa Guardsman 20
Allium cepa Katana F1 19
Allium cernuum Mix 21
Allium crenulatum 21
Allium cretaceum 19
Allium cyathophorum 21
Allium darwasicum 19
Allium douglasii 21
Allium erubescens 19
Allium fetisowii 19
Allium fistulosum Auen 4 19
Allium fistulosum Bygland 19
Allium fistulosum Gribovskij 21
Allium fistulosum Leppasyrja 19
Allium fistulosum Neset 19
Allium fistulosum Unknown Japanese (hardy) 21
Allium fistulosum Kaj 19
Allium fistulosum Gerda 19
Allium fistulosum North Holland Blood Red 19
Allium fistulosum Ex Salatnyj 30 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Anemette Olesen 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Nerøygarden 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Valbjør 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Søre Breden 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Sve 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Aprelskiy 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Svenskelauk 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Idunn 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Elfried Søvold 20
Allium fistulosum Ex Italy 20
Allium fistulosum Ringve Mix 20
Allium flavum Mix 21
Allium fuscoviolaceum 18
OUTAllium galanthum 21
Allium aff. geyeri 21
Allium globosum 19
Allium hookeri var muliense 21
Allium hymenorrhizum 20
Allium insubricum 21
Allium jesdianum Akbulak 19
Allium jesdianum Purple King 21
Allium karataviense Ex-Ivory Queen 21
Allium karelinii 19
Allium lipskyanum 19
Allium lusitanicum from Moravia 20
Allium macranthum 21
Allium mairei 19
Allium narcissiflorum 21
Allium nutans x flavescens 19
Allium obliquum 21
Allium ovalifolium var. leuconervum 21
Allium paczoskianum 19
Allium praescissum 19
Allium pskemense x fistulosum 19
OUTAllium rotundum 19
OUTAllium rotundum subsp jajlae 19
Allium saxatile 19
Allium schoenoprasoides 21
Allium schoenoprasum Dolores Chives 19
Allium schoenoprasum subsp sibiricum 20
Allium schoenoprasum var orientale 20
Allium scorodoprasum Abrahamshallen Bergen 21
Allium scorodoprasum Borøya 21
Allium scorodoprasum Grums. Värmland 21
Allium scorodoprasum Homborsund Fyr 21
Allium scorodoprasum Leikerøya,Risør 21
Allium scorodoprasum Sandøya, Farsund 21
Allium scorodoprasum Skåtøy, Kragerø 21
Allium scorodoprasum Kristiansand 21
Allium scorodoprasum Uppsala 21
Allium severtzovioides 19
Allium sewerzowii 19
Allium spirale 19
Allium splendens 20
Allium stipitatum 21
Allium stipitatum Album 21
Allium stipitatum Ex-Goliath 19
Allium strictum 18
Allium suaveolens 19
Allium tianschanicum 19
Allium tuberosum 21
Allium tuberosum from Margaret Short i Alaska 20
Allium tuberosum Nien Hwa (Vreeken) 20
Allium tuberosum Geisha 20
Allium ursinum 21
Allium validum 21
Allium victorialis 21
Allium ulleungense? (Ex-Allium victorialis from Gothenburg) 21
Allium wallichii 21
Allium wallichii 19
Amorphophallus konjac 21
NEW Amygdalus nana (Dwarf Siberian Almond) 21
Anethum graveolens 21
Angelica acutiloba 21
NEW Angelica archangelica var decurrens 21
NEW Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann Markusteigen” 21
Angelica grayi 21
Anredera cordifolia 21
Anthriscus cerefolium 21
Apium graveolens Aberdeen selection (leaf celery from Alan Carter’s Forest Garden in Aberdeen) 20
Apium graveolens Green Utah 20
Apium graveolens Red Stem 19
Aquilegia caerulea 21
Aquilegia chrysantha 19
Arabis alpina Snow Peak 20
Aralia californica 21
Aralia racemosa 21
NEW Aralia spinosa / elata 21
Arctium lappa 19
OUTAster tripolium 21
Atriplex hortensis BRITAS TRÄDGÅRDSMÅLLA 19
Atriplex hortensis Rubra 21
Atriplex hortensis Være 21
Barbarea verna American Land Cress 18
Barbarea vulgaris Variegata 19
Basella alba 21
Begonia heracleifolia var nigricans 20
Brassica juncea Leaf Heading Mustard 19
Brassica juncea Giant Red 18
Brassica oleracea Ex-Tree collards Flerårige Kål (some will be perennial) 19
Brassica oleracea Broccolini 17
Brassica oleracea Branchu de L’Embarras 17
Brassica oleracea Kalettes 17
Brassica oleracea Ex-Asturian Trekål 20
Brassica oleracea Ex-Pentland Brig (some may be perennial) 19
Brassica oleracea Ex-Heligoland Flerårige Kål (some will be perennial) 19
Brassica oleracea Ex-Cottager’s Flerårige Kål (some will be perennial)19
Brassica oleracea Ex-Ragged Jack Kale 19
Brassica oleracea Couve Galega 18
Brassica oleracea Daubenton Grex (some will be perennial) 17
OUT Brassica oleracea Daubenton x Late Purple Sprouting Broccoli (some will be perennial) 19
Brassica rapa Cima di Rapa Sessantina 16
Brassica rapa Snowball Turnip 18
Brassica rapa Petrowski Turnip (from Alaska) 20
Calamintha grandiflora Variegata 19
Calamintha sylvestris 21
Calendula officinalis Mix 21
Campanula latifolia Mix 19
Campanula persicifolia 19
Campanula punctata Ex- Rubrifolia 19
Campanula takesimana 20
Campanula trachelium Bernice 19
Capsicum annuum Ausilio Thin Skin Italian Pepper 20
Centaurea deabalta 21
NEW Centaurea solstitialis 21
Chelidonium majus 20
Chelidonium majus Flore Pleno (Double) 21
Chenopodium bonus-henricus 21
Chenopodium quinoa Stephe 19
Chrysanthemum (Glebionis) coronarium 20
Cicerbita alpina 21
Cicerbita plumieri 19
Cichorium endivia Cornet de Bordeaux 17
Cichorium intybus Catalogna Gigante di Chioggia 19
Cichorium intybus Bianca 17
Cichorium intybus Orchidea Rossa 18
Cichorium intybus Rossa di Verona Sel. Arca 17
Cichorium intybus Perennial chicory selections from Tim Peters 16
Cirsium canum 21
Cirsium eriophorum 19
Cirsium japonicum 20
Cirsium oleraceum 21
Cirsium setidens 21
Clematis vitalba 19
Commelina coelestis 20
Commelina coelestis Alba 20
Conopodium majus 21
Crambe maritima 21
Cryptotaenia canadensis 21
Cryptotaenia japonica Atropurpurea 21
Cucurbita maxima Sweet Fall 19
Cucurbita pepo Paydon Heirloom Acorn 20
Dioscorea polystachya 21
Dioscorea polystachya Ichoimo 21
Dioscorea polystachya Pollinator Males 21
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Wildfire 18
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Dragon’s Fire 18
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Heirloom Rustic Style 18
Dipsacus japonicus 19
Dystaenia takesimina 21
NEW Eleutherococcus leucorrhizus 21
NEW Eleutherococcus nodiflorus 21
OUT Eleutherococcus sessiliflorus 19
NEW Eleutherococcus sessiliflorus 21 
NEW Eleutherococcus sitchuensis 21 
Eupatorium cannabinum 20
NEW Fagopyrum giraldii 21
Fagopyrum tataricum 20
Filipendula ulmaria Variegata 20
Galium odoratum 21
Hablitzia tamnoides Mix 21
NEWHablitzia tamnoides (Armenian wild) 21
Hemerocallis citrina vespertina? 21
Heracleum maxima 21
Heracleum sphondylium x sibiricum 21
Hippophae rhamnoides Ex-Umeå 20
Hydrophyllum appendiculatum 21
Hypericum perforatum 20
Inula helenium 20
Lactuca sativa Jebousek 20
Lactuca sativa Veneziana 19
Lactuca sativa Freckles 18
Lactuca sativa Italian Oak Leaf 18
Lactuca sativa Ruby Gem 17
Lactuca sativa Veneziana 19
Lactuca sativa Ruby Gem 19
Lactuca sativa Cocarde 19
Lactuca sativa Summer Bibb 17
Lactuca sativa Little Leprechaun 19
Lactuca sativa Drunken Woman 19
Leonurus cardiaca 21
Lepidium ferganense 19
NEW Lepidium densiflorum 21
NEW Lepidium graminifolium 21
Lepidium sativum 20
Lepidium sativum Kandahar Giant Cress 20
Libertia grandiflora 19
Ligularia fischeri 21
Ligularia sachalinensis 21
Ligusticum grayi 21
Lonicera iliense 20
Lycopus asper 21
NEW Lycopus uniflorus 21
Malva mohileviensis 18
Malva moschata 20
Malva moschata Alba 21
Malva sylvestris 21
Malva verticillata 18
Mertensia ciliata 21
Mertensia paniculata 19
Molopospermum peloponnesiacum 21
Monarda fistulosa 19
Nicandra physalodes 19
Oplopanax horridus 21
Orychophragmus violaceus 19
Oxalis tuberosa Rød 20
Oxalis tuberosa Gul 20
Parasenecio farfarifolius var bulbifer Chiri Fu 20
Parasenecio hastatus 21
Parasenecio hastatus subsp orientalis Ex-Shiro Sankou Hakikomi Fu 19
Pastanica sativa 21
NEW Peltaria alliacea 21
Phaseolus vulgaris Anasazi Bean 19
Physalis Indian Strain 21
Physalis spp. 19
Phyteuma nigra 21
Phyteuma orbiculare 19
Phyteuma spicatum 19
Phytolacca americana 21
Pisum sativum Askerert (=Ringeriksert?) 20
Pisum sativum Chinese Snow Pea 20
Pisum sativum Grønn Sabel L-16 Berle 20
Pisum sativum Jærert 20
Pisum sativum Austrian Winter 20
Pisum sativum Carlin 20
Pisum sativum Mammoth Melting 20
Pisum sativum Marie’s Høye 20
Pisum sativum Purple Podded 20
Pisum sativum Robinson 20
Pisum sativum Rättviksärt 20
Pisum sativum Salmon Flowered 20
Pisum sativum Slikkerten fra Våler 20
Pisum sativum SVARTBJÖRSBYN 20
Pisum sativum Green Beauty Snow 19
Pisum sativum Sugar Magnolia 19
Platycodon grandiflorus 21
Polymnia sonchifolia 21
Proboscidea louisianica ssp fragrans 20
Prunus serotina 21
Prunus sibirica 21
Prunus tomentosa 21
Pseudostellaria heterophylla 19
Pyrus pashia 21
Raphanus sativus Runder Schwarzer Vinter 19
Raphanus sativus Radish pod variety 18
Rheum ribes 21
NEW Ribes odoratum “Tschernij Altai” 21
Rosa canina 19
Rosa ecae 19
Rosa moyesii 21
Rubus illecebrosus 21
Rosa platyacantha 19
Rudbeckia laciniata 20
Rumex acetosa Russisk Mix 21
Rumex acetosa Belleville 19
Rumex acetosa Champion 19
Rumex crispa 21
Rumex patientia 21
Ruta graveolens 19
Sanguisorba canadensis 19
Sanguisorba menziesii 21
Sanguisorba minor 21
Saxifraga pensylvanica 19
OUTScorzonera hispanica 21
Scorzonera hispanica Einjaehrige 21
Serratula coronata 21
Serratula tinctoria 21
Silene dioica Ray’s Golden Champion 21
Silybum marianum 21
Sinapis alba 21
Streptopus amplexifolius 20
Taraxacum albidum 20
Taraxacum leucanthum 21
Taraxacum pseudoroseum 21
Taraxacum rubifolium 21
Taraxacum sublaciniosum Delikatess (Moss-leaved) 21
Thalictrum aquilegifolium 21
Tigridia pavoniana 21
Tragopogon samaritanii 21
Trigonella foenum-graecum 20
Tropaeolum Mix 21
Tulbaghia capensis 20
Tulbaghia violacea 20
NEW Urtica cannabina 21
NEW Urtica holosericea (Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea) (Wild from California) 21
NEW Urtica holosericea (Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea) (Wild from Washington State) 21
NEW Urtica platyphylla 21
Verbascum thapsus 21
Vicia faba 20
Viola glabella 21
Zea mays Pink and Purple Popcorn 19

Burdock for goldfinches

I’ve written a series of articles in 3 parts “Fuglevennlige planter i hagen” (Bird friendly plants in the garden) for the magazine of our national bird society (NOF, now Birdlife Norge) called Vår Fuglefauna (Our Bird Fauna). The first part (6 pages) has already been published (the first two pages are shown below; deliberately blurred text (below). 
My most successful plant (genus) supplying bird food in winter has been various species of burdock / borre (Arctium spp.). The oil rich seeds are very popular with goldfinches (stillits) and greenfinches (grønnfink). This autumn I cut a few plants growing in a different part of the garden and moved them in full view of my kitchen window which allowed me to film a flock of 11 goldfinches yesterday (see below). In the summer, the same plants are popular with various pollinators and for that reason also provide food for other insectivorous birds in summer.



The article will also be published for members of Norwegian Seed Savers’ guild for “Insect and Bird Friendly Plants” in a few months from now. This guild works focuses on plants that are beneficial for maintaining a garden rich in a diversity of insects and birds, whilst still providing food for us!


Root Chicory Trials 2021 at Være

One of the experiments this year in the KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) trial gardens at Væres Venner in Trondheim has been a comparison of different root chicories. These have 3 main uses:
Witloof (literally “white leaf”) or forcing chicories used for producing chicons, also known as Belgian or French endive (forced from the roots in the dark, usually in winter. to reduce the bitterness);
Root chicories where the root is used as a vegetable, popular in winter in Italy;
Coffee chicories are also in the group root chicories and sometimes the same varieties harvested more mature and used as coffee surrogate (ground and roasted).
There are hundreds of varieties of chicories with multiple other uses. Common for all here in the north is that they are relatively easy to grow with few pests and diseases, thus easier to grow organically than for example the cabbage family. However, they are almost never used here in Norway. In Norway’s largest FB group on vegetables “Grønnsaksdyrking i Hele Norge” with 36,000 members there is only one mention of chicory)(sikkori) and that more as a wild plant than something you would cultivate. 
This is partly because most have been selected for a very different (Mediterranean) climate and some go to seed (bolt) in the first year which significantly lowers yields. Witloof chicories have, however, largely been improved further north (Belgium and France) and my experience has shown that these varieties only occasionally bolt (out of several hundred plants grown this year, none bolted!).

The chicory bed just before harvest. There are 9 varieties along the 1.2m wide raised bed.

I sourced different varieties of root chicories from the German genebank IPK Gatersleben with the objective to select a good variety in the two main groups for my area (I had previously had reasonably good experience growing witloof chicories for forcing in winter; see the picture below). I wanted also to explore if it is possible to be self-sufficient in seed. As part of the seed saving process, roots need to be overwintered and grown to flowering in the second year. Hardiness of chicories varies a lot between varieties and I therefore overwinter roots in my cold cellar, but plan also later to test winter hardiness outside. Some chicories can also perennialize like the wild species and this is a secondary project to select high yielding perennial and hardy chicories. Another great characteristic of chicories and side-effect of seed saving is that the beautiful chicory flowers are very popular with pollinators and a number of selections with different flower colours are also available for growing as an ornamental. This is indeed a great combination plant that I term an edi-ento-mental (edible, good for the pollinators and ornamentally valuable too).
See the various flower variants I’ve grown in this post: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18650

Winter forced Witloof chicons from my cold cellar in mid¨-February

Chicory in flower in my garden

I was pleased with the yield, which was better than I’ve experienced in my shady garden at home. The fact that the roots are irregular in size is probably at least in part due to the fact that the spacing between the roots was a little irregular (I will try for a more even spacing next year).

Witloof chicory Prezo RZ performed well
Witloof chicory Extra Vroege Mechelse had a lot of forking roots


We’ve grown 4 varieties of Witloof forcing chicories including Witloof Prezo RZ, Witloof Extra Vroege Mechelse (Early) and Witloof Dobbel Blank. In the video there are 9 varieties shown and the Witloofs are #2, 7, 8 and 9. There are some nice size roots and I plan to grown on the largest 20-25 or so roots for seed, which will then be made available to KVANN members.

Nice sized roots of the edible root variety Radici di Soncino

The root chicory Radici di Chiavara 

There were two varieties of root chicory and both gave good yields. I will probably grow again next year in larger quantity (the descriptions are taken from Stephen Facciola’s Cornucopia II)
Radici di Chiavara (Chiavari)
Grown primarily for its root, although the leaves are also used and have a good flavor. The root is thick-collared, creamy white and uniform. Grows over a long season, from early spring until late fall. To prepare, scrape and boil the root until tender. Slice thinly and serve with vinaigrette, or it can be rolled in bread crumbs, deep fried and served with lemon and parsley.
Radici di Soncino(Radison)
Long, narrow roots with creamy white skin and flesh; rather bitter. May be harvested anytime from autumn until the following spring. Popular in Italy where it is considered very healthful and is cooked and eaten in many ways.

Below is a video showing all the harvested roots:

A real Oca yield outside at 63.4N

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.

Nanking cherry harvest

 
Nanking cherry (Prunus tomentosa) is a species native to northern and western China, Tibet,  Korea and Mongolia. My two plants are seed propagated about 20 years ago, but are planted a bit far apart for good yields, but I’ve just harvested a small crop, having forgot about them (in a part of the garden I don’t often go) but then I heard the fieldfares (gråtrost) feasting on them this morning. The berries are quite sweet to my taste, not sour as is often reported, but the seeds are relatively large. The biggest advantage with them is that they are supposedly hardy down to below -40C, so something for Northern Norway and the mountain areas. They are also earlier than sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and therefore it’s worth having a couple of bushes to extend the fresh fruit season (ripe just after strawberries and honeyberries / haskaps which are earliest here). There are cultivars; from wikipedia: “…examples include ‘Graebneriana’ (Germany), ‘Insularis’ (Japan and Korea), ‘Leucocarpa’ (Manchuria; white fruit), and ‘Spaethiana’ (Europe).”
They are also fantastic when blossoming (and full of fruit), so a valuable edimental in any case!
And, yes I do save the seeds for sharing with Norwegian Seed Savers (kvann.no).

KVANN’s World Garden

At the Væres Venner community garden on the outskirts of Trondheim at Ranheim in an area we hope will remain a green belt, I have been working to create what we call Verdenshagen (The World Garden) in collaboration with KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and Schübelers nettverk. This is a network of gardens throughout Norway which is being launched in June 2021 in honour of Fredrik Christian Schübeler (1815-1892) was a botanist and professor at the University in Christiania (now Oslo) and director of the Botanical Gardens for nearly 30 years from 1863. He established a network of gardens throughout Norway, often in collaboration with prestegård (rectory gardens) to test out new plants of economical importance (both ornamentals and edibles). Our new network is also planned centred around rectory gardens and other gardens to demonstrate and inspire to grow new plants but also to conserve old varieties of food plants and ornamentals. See more at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=https://kvann.no/schubeler
The World Garden is basically a 12 m diameter circle where the centre represents the North Pole and houses a garden of Arctic food plants. Largely perennial vegetables are being planted geographically around the circle, currently some 80 plants, many of which can be read about inspired by my own book Around the World in 80 plants (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=30). The garden is surrounded by over 100 old and new fruit, berry and nut trees and another demonstration garden for annual crops.
The intention is to add pictures to the album below throughout the year from the World Garden. Our focus is also in creating and improving the habitat at Være for other wildlife, so there will also be pictures of insects, birds and other creatures. 

Lemon Berberis

Norwegian: for en norsk oversettelse av denne artikkelen (Norwegian translation), se KVANNs (Norwegian Seed Savers) Nyhetsbrev #15

The barberry in my garden has been a large 3-4 m plant since we moved here in 1984; here in full flower

There’s always been a barberry (Berberis vulgaris) in my garden, in dry soil in the root zone of my largest spruce trees. It was a large plant when we moved here in 1984 and may be wild as it’s a common plant on the other side of the bay (Malvikbukta) where it grows on shallow dry soils next to the fjord in company with sea buckthorn (Hippophae tamnoides). It is thought that this species was originally introduced in monastery gardens and later naturalised. It’s nowadays a relatively common but local plant along the Trondheimsfjord, but isn’t found much further north.

My oldest barberry grows in very dry shallow soil near to my largest spruce trees

I also planted one next to the kitchen window in order to get good views of waxwings (sidensvans) and thrushes (troster) that feast on the berries in autumn and winter:

Redwing (rødvingetrost) outside the kitchen window feeding on low-hanging barberry fruits

I also have a form with dark berries which I propagated by seed which I received in 1998:

Ethnobotany
There are many species of Berberis, and the closely related Mahonia, which many botanists consider to be a part of Berberis, that have been used traditionally for food around the world. In South America, several species were used including  the fruit of the michay (Berberis microphylla) used by the Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina. Numerous Native American tribes used various Mahonia species both fresh and dried, for jelly and jam, tea, wine and lemonade. In Japan, several species are used for drinks and at least one species is used for a drink in China. 7 species are known to be used in Nepal, both eaten fresh, pickled, distilled into alcohol and in the case of Berberis chitria, the seeds are roasted. Fruit of Mahonia acanthifolia and Mahonia napaulensis are also eaten fresh and pickled. Another Himalayan barberry (Berberis asiatica) is said to make the best Indian raisins.
However, it is in Iran (and neighbouring Afghanistan) that barberries are really an important part of the national cuisine(s), notably zereshk polow (literally barberry rice). The eastern Iranian province of  South Khorasan is the main production area of seedless Iranian barberries on (in 2014) 11,000 ha and over 9,000 tonnes of dried fruit.  Cultivation goes back 200 years or so. Most authors consider that the seedless barberry, which is propagated by suckers, is Berberis vulgaris var. asperma but others that it is a form, or hybrid, Berberis integerrima ‘Bidaneh’ (bidaneh meaning seedless). Difficulty of propagation, the spiny nature of plants and the tendency to yield every other year are problems being addressed. 
I like to let the birds, and in particular waxwings, take most of the barberries. However, I normally dry a few for my dried fruit mixes which I have for breakfast once the fresh apples are finished normally from April to when the first fresh fruit is available again in July (see   https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=25352). However, this year there were very few waxwings and I dried many more than normal (over the wood stove).

Red and black-fruited barberries
Red and black-fruited barberries

Dried barberries

I’ve been inspired by Persian cuisine many times over the years, like the Persian spice golpar from the seeds of Heracleum persicum and other Heracleum species, now the spice I use more than any other (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=golpar) and Persian shallots (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=persian+shallots).
I therefore decided to try using my dried Berberis harvest in various Iranian dishes. The first was just to give a “lemony zing” to rice. I ground the dried berries and just sprinkled on the rice before serving. 


There are numerous recipes for preparing zereshk polow which you can find easily by searching on the net (including youtube videos). It’s either a layered rice dish, but the rehydrated berries are usually sprinkled on the top as a jewel-like decoration. The berries are either rehydrated by soaking in cold water for 5-10 minutes or quickly in hot water. They are also added to melted butter which plumps them up. Saffron is often an ingredient (South Khorasan is also an important production area for saffron). The Iranian spice mix, which often contains golpar (ground seeds or the flower petals of Heracleum persicum). The pilow is usually steamed and often onions, garlic and almond slices are included.  I’d like to adapting this using barley or rye grains in place of the rice.

Other Ethnobotanical Uses
I’ve also recorded other uses of Berberis vulgaris in the ethnobotanical literature in Europe and West Asia:
Czech Republic: Snack food for children
Estonia: Spice for fermented cucumbers
Slovakia: Young shoots eaten raw in spring or added to sauces
Bulgaria: Fruit added to soups as a sour taste
Turkey: Used fresh or dried
Basque Country (Spain): Young shoots are eaten

Other species
In 2011 on a visit to the Dublin botanical garden, I tasted my way through a nice collection of Berberis in fruit and two of them stood out with good taste:

Berberis polyantha
 Berberis x carminea “Pirate King”

Nutritionally, Berberis fruits are rich in vitamin C (similar to citrus). 
In some areas, it may be unadvisable to plant Berberis vulgaris as it is an alternative host for the stem rust Puccinia graminis of wheat and barley. However, modern day varieties are usually resistent. 

2020 Potato Harvest

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: