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Recipies & Uses for Unusual Permaculture Plants

 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Hey Folks,

In permaculture systems we often find ourselves making unconventional plant selections and growing unusual edibles (at least they're unusual here in the US). A big obstacle to some of these species is that people don't know what to do with them. Even at our place I've found some folks poo-pooing the perennial veggies and other oddities...until I cook them for them. If I do it well, I've found that all of a sudden people's dubious suspicion (which leads to neglect for the plants) turns to enthusiasm (which leads to attention and care).

Therefore, I thought it would be neat to start a thread for people to post their recipes, uses, or processing instructions for the less common crops (let's say crops you seldom see in the grocery store, be they annual or perennial). I'd' be particularly interested in hearing about people's first hand experiences in how to prepare these crops, although hearsay is better than nothing.

Some ideas for unusual crops that I'd like recipes for include:

  • [li]fuki (Petasites japonicus)[/li]
    [li]skirret (Sium sisarum)[/li]
    [li]cardoon (Cynara carduniculus)[/li]
    [li]aronia (Aronia melanocarpa[/li]
    [li]sorrel (Rumex acetosa)[/li]
    [li]ginkgo nuts (Ginkgo biloba)[/li]
    [li]Chilean Hazel (Gevuina avenalla)[/li]
    [li]Udo (Aralia cordata)[/li]
    [li]Achira (Canna edulis)[/li]
    [li]Fragrant Spring Tree (Toona sinensis)[/li]
    [li]Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)[/li]
    [li]Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)[/li]
    [li]Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosus)[/li]


  • I'll look forward to hearing what folks are doing with their weirdo crops!

    Dave
     
    Dave Boehnlein
    Posts: 294
    Location: Orcas Island, WA
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    I suppose I ought to reply to myself with at least one recipe that folks may enjoy. We grow a lot of burdock root (aka 'gobo'. I've been thinking about it a lot this year because we harvested & stored such a killer crop last fall. We ended up with roots that were 1 1/2 inches thick and as long as three feet! Here's my favorite recipe (I was advised on this one by one of our resident culinary experts, Avi).

    Chinese Five Spice Gobo

    1. Make a sauce consisting of:

  • [li]Chinese Five Spice[/li]
    [li]Korean Pepper or Cayenne[/li]
    [li]Pressed garlic[/li]
    [li]Brown Sugar or Brown Rice Syrup[/li]
    [li]Tamari or Soy Sauce[/li]
    [li]Rice Wine Vinegar[/li]
    [li]Vegetable Oil[/li]


  • Note: This sauce also makes a killer salad dressing.

    2. Wash gobo & cut into 1/4" x 3" sticks. Steam gobo for a few minutes to soften slightly.

    3. Toss gobo in a hot wok until it begins to sear. Then add the sauce and lid it. Cook for a few minutes (depending how crunchy you like the gobo) & serve piping hot.

    I've fallen in love with this recipe! Gobo has a really earthy flavor that goes well with the sauce. If you've never had gobo before give it a try! You can harvest it wild (it may be tougher) or pick some up to sample at a Japanese market.

    Bon apetite!

    Dave
     
                
    Posts: 8
    Location: olympia
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    from KZ:

    The only one on your list I have a recipe for is sorrel.  This pesto
    is fantastic on pasta.  I've added fresh cauliflower to the pasta for
    crunch, and I usually add more garlic to the pesto.

    Sorrel Pesto

    2 cups fresh sorrel
    1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
    2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1/4 cup olive oil

    Puree all ingredients.  Makes about 1 cup.
     
    Jeremy Stocks
    Posts: 42
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    I do believe you can make dandandelion and burdock beer. They used to make that in the English midlands.

    I think you have to be careful with Sorrel. Isnt too much of it not so good for your tummy?
     
    John Saltveit
    gardener
    Posts: 1924
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    We make a juice out of aronia and orange juice, mixed in the blender. Delicious and super nutritious.

    Sorrel is high in oxalates. Good to eat it without calcium for 30 minutes or you lose the calcium. We eat it in sandwiches, salads, and raw.

    We used to make cardoon sushi. It was really good!

    I eat a lot of black salsify (scorzonera) great salad green.
    John S
    PDX OR
     
    David Williams
    Posts: 133
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    i have a little trick i do with my neighbors and family , and cant stress this enough ... Cook for them, and take the seeds of what you are using and get them to sow them...
    I make rice custard using Quinoa... people love it
    I put Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) in white-sauce for roasts
    I use figs and dates in curries
    I use lentils in meat pies to make the meat go further
    I find if you don't being them foreign foods to their diet , but incorporate unusual foodstuffs in the dishes they already eat
    might sound like baby steps , but any change even if small , is change none-the-less...
     
    Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
    Posts: 488
    Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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    Fuki - sautee in pan with sesame oil, add shoyu at the last minute so the shoyu sizzles and carmelizes a bit. Tempura also good. Wish we had the climate for Fuki.

    Gobo/Burdock - lots of ways to cook it. I've used it in brown rice 'risotto' with carrot, asparagus, shiitake & miso. In Japan it is often used to flavor soups & broths. Burdock is often cut into 'matchsticks' or sometimes shaved like you would sharpening a pencil. Burdock and carrots go well together.

    New addition to the garden for us is ipomoea aquatica (kang kong/ong choy), seems like anything involved garlic and shoyu works well.

    Purslane goes well in salads with umezu (ume plum vinegar) which is salty-sour.

    Chickweed (known as hakobe in Japan) - lightly blanch and serve with shoyu.

     
    David Williams
    Posts: 133
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    yukkuri kame wrote:New addition to the garden for us is ipomoea aquatica (kang kong/ong choy), seems like anything involved garlic and shoyu works well.

    My Japanese friends tell me it's their fave in any stir fry, They eat the newest shoots ... close relative of the sweet potato and one i have on order for this summer ...
    one of the few things i am really looking forward to trying this harvest
     
    Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
    Posts: 488
    Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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    David Williams wrote:
    yukkuri kame wrote:New addition to the garden for us is ipomoea aquatica (kang kong/ong choy), seems like anything involved garlic and shoyu works well.

    My Japanese friends tell me it's their fave in any stir fry, They eat the newest shoots ... close relative of the sweet potato and one i have on order for this summer ...
    one of the few things i am really looking forward to trying this harvest


    Picked up a bunch at the farmer's market (This is L.A.), ate most of the leaves and stuck the stems in well-composted woodchips and they are off to the races. Pretty sure we will have as much as we want forever. Fast grower, at least in summer heat. We'll see how it does through the cool season.

    Also rooted malabar spinach from a bunch from farmer's market, not quite as fast growing, but nice for thickening soups. Wife likes it in miso soup.
     
    John Elliott
    pollinator
    Posts: 2310
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    Has anyone got any good recipes for taro leaves (Colocasia esculenta)?

    This wet, wet, summer destroyed almost everything else in my garden, but I won't go hungry the way the taro plants have taken off. I looked a little on YouTube, but aside from variations on "cook it up with some coconut milk", there wasn't a whole lot of variety. Has anyone tried to ferment it? And does the nasty irritant in the raw leaves go away in the fermentation process like it does with cooking?
     
    Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
    Posts: 488
    Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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    John Elliott wrote:Has anyone got any good recipes for taro leaves (Colocasia esculenta)?

    This wet, wet, summer destroyed almost everything else in my garden, but I won't go hungry the way the taro plants have taken off. I looked a little on YouTube, but aside from variations on "cook it up with some coconut milk", there wasn't a whole lot of variety. Has anyone tried to ferment it? And does the nasty irritant in the raw leaves go away in the fermentation process like it does with cooking?


    Dunno about fermentation. My experience is, even with cooking, the toxins are fairly stubborn. A quick blanching doesn't get it done, longer cooking times. Also read somewhere soaking in cold water overnight would be helpful.

    Japanese mother-in-law said something about drying taro leaves, but I never got any specifics. There seems to a fair bit about dried taro leaves on the net.
     
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