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quality and palatability of perennial vegetables...

 
pollinator
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I am a long time gardener and forager for wild foods. As a forager, I make clear choice distinctions between what is edible and what is palatable. A lot of literature covers edibility which, to me, is only part of the story. Can an edible food item help one survive? Sure. But I need the pleasure of palatability. I don't have a lot of space and what I do grow, I actually want to desire and look forward to eating. That said, a lot (many?, most?) of the information sources for perennial vegetables run similar to those surrounding foraged edibles. There seems to be little discussing things which might limit their enjoyment like taste, extreme growing difficulties, true spatial requirements, ease of use, etc.

A few examples...

Asparagus - easy to grow, easy to prepare & use, and I really look forward to eating it. I'm about to make a few beds here.

Jerusalem artichoke - space needs are high, I like the flavor and crunch, I can't bring myself to eat them anymore due to the extreme gastric distress involved. That also means I can't use what precious little space I have to grow them.

Rhubarb - I love this. I'll be installing a few varieties. Easy to grow, easy to prep and use, and while it does take up space, it's an item that costs dearly here. It's also very lush looking and fits in well for stealth front yard gardening for those of us in urban areas where small-mindedness can sometimes mean ya gotta look for some stealthy ways to grow.

And it escapes me at the moment but there are several perennial vegetables that are included on lists but they require multiple water changes while cooking, or peeling pencil thin roots, or some other measure that make them ridiculously labor intensive just to be able to eat them. Even still, having experimented with several, the end result can be bland (from all the water changes), bitter (which I abhor), have an unpleasant texture, etc. I mean, you can eat reindeer moss but why would you?

So, with that in mind, I'd be curious to hear about perennial vegetables that people actually look forward to growing, harvesting, preparing, and EATING ...warts and all (like with sunchokes above).

Anyone want to wade in?



 
master steward
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I think part of the issue with perennial veg is that the popular grocery store veg are things that 90% of people "like", but unless the issue with the perennial veg is lack of shelf life, I find that many of the uncommon veggies are much more person-specific in the "like/dislike" department. Some people tolerate "bitter" much more than others, but it is also an acquired taste to some degree - Hubby doesn't like dark chocolate, nor did I when I was younger, but now I consider it a required food group even though I can't grow it (but then, I don't drink coffee, so I have to get my caffeine somewhere?)

I grow a lot of a naturalized version of what I think was originally Egyptian Walking Onion. By putting them in a wide variety of spots, I can lengthen their season. It's been too cold to get anything more than a taste at the moment (Early March), but I have already picked them once or twice. Great for chopping into soups or stews. I add one or two leaves to the pressure cooker when making bone broth. When more plentiful, I use them to replace onion in many dishes.

Personally, I'm perfectly happy to eat Nettle soup and I've made Nettle pesto before, although generally I use mixed greens in there, so that affects what flavor I perceive. However, it's another perennial veg that should only be eaten in the spring from what I've read - or at least eat young leaves - I'm wondering whether so long as it's "new" growth, is it OK to eat? Again, tough sell with Hubby and #2 son - sigh - I sneak odd bits in, when feeding them, but that's their tolerance level.

If I had more space, I'd try again to grow the bunching onions (some people call them potato onions). Onions are simply too cheap to justify with my limited bunny/deer proof garden area, and the Walking onions fulfil much of that need. Part of the issue is that they need to be harvested and stored in the fall, and storage is an issue for me at this time.

Permies is a wonderful resource for recipe and cooking ideas. I've taken to looking for recipe threads regarding the less common veggies to see what a variety of members have to say about them. I just did that for French Sorrel - I've just planted some, but it's got the "high in oxalic acid" issue which I've got to manage without turning it into unpalatable mush. Although technically a perennial, it sounds as if it's tastier fairly young, so I'll have to let it self-seed and remove older plants to make way for younger ones if I find it useful.
 
pollinator
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I look forward to several of my perennials: ostrich fern fiddleheads, lovage, day lily buds, chives and garlic chives. None of these are very substantial fare though.
 
pollinator
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We love artichokes. I'm growing cardoons as well, but haven't had a crop yet to know if it's worth it.

We served salsify in one of the restaurants that I worked, but it is labor intensive. It's a thin root, that we peeled then blanched. Then it was breading and fried.

Honestly I'm looking at adding some of these things, salsify, skirret as primarily foods to fall back on if things get bad. Other people won't notice them or recognize them as food. I'll play around with them so as to know what to do with them if it comes to that but they aren't easy.

Where I live we have thousands of oak trees, that my primary focus.
 
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mushrooms are effectively perennials where I live (and I suspect Kentucky has many native species as well)

Every year I learn 1 or 2 more edible species and add them to my list.  I'm now confident identifying and foraging 8-10 species of mushrooms that fruit from spring through fall

In a good year (lots of rainfall) I can dehydrate and freeze jars and jars of mushrooms in the fall

It's a mix of cultivation and foraging.  Some species just need to be "encouraged" to spread in their preferred substrate..  It can involve a bit of guerilla-gardening - spreading winecap stropharia spawn in areas you frequent with wood chip beds.  The blewits showed up in the low, damp spot in my yard, so I dump my fall leaves there and they fruit prolifically after the first freezing nights.

If you keep your eyes open, you'll start to see them everywhere.  I picked a 10-pound chicken-of-the-woods off a rotting maple tree I passed on my commute to work.  Filled a paper bag with boletes on my daughter's field-trip hike in the woods.  Grabbed a 3-pound maitake from the edge of the parking lot near my son's soccer game.  Friends and neighbors will text me photos "what is this...do you want it?"  People get used to me scanning over their shoulder while talking, and walking over to grab some choice mushrooms whenever I spot them!

 
pollinator
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Sochan is really nice early greens, and lovely flowers and seeds for birds and pollinators later on.   It's delicious,  unlike things like violets or other wilder greens.

French sorrel,  I happen to love it!   It's so good in soups and sauces, not really a substantial dense calorie source but still yum.    And it's a bit more than just an herb or chive, it does have volume even though it cooks down.   Can eat it as a wrap or salad addition without cooking.  
sochan.jpg
sochan-perennial-vegetable
sorrel.jpg
sorrel-perennial-vegetable
 
gardener
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I grew Good King Henry and two kinds of sorrel (French and red-veined) but I pulled them out because I didn't like eating them.

I like bitter foods, love bitter gourd, but the bitterness of Good King Henry was just yucky to me, even after soaking or boiling in salted water and discarding the water. Kinda like bolted lettuce, just not a nice bitterness. I know that many people find it palatable, so maybe my conditions are too dry or sunny for it. And I decided I didn't want to be responsible for introducing a new weed to my region if it's not super useful.

Similarly, both kinds of sorrel gave only a tangy/sour edge that I can get from other things that aren't so alarmingly high in oxalic acid, so I gave up on sorrel as well as the local dock (even though it's the earliest outdoor edible here).

Where I live in the very dry desert, capers are the biggest plant that grows in the desert, and the local tradition is to use the spring shoots as a vegetable. This vegetable is very delicious, and to be looked forward to like asparagus. And a month later I collect the flower buds for Italian style capers, those little green salty-sour pickled things. But capers won't grow in Kentucky.

Another native edible here is Lepidium latifolium, which is super abundant in certain places along the Indus River near me. I can collect a sackful in a few minutes in April, as many times as I like. It's not as delicious as capers, and does have a bitter edge even after the water processing, but it's a bitterness that I like (it's in the broader cabbage-mustard family). It is listed on various US states' websites as a non-native invasive there.

I'd second nettles, mentioned above. They can be very abundant if you've got a fertile moist area for them. Aside from needing to wear gloves to harvest and handle them fresh, once you've dried or cooked them, they are as easy and as good as spinach and don't sting anymore. Aside from an amazingly nutritious vegetable, they make a tea that I've heard from many different sources is very effective against allergies, especially pollen allergies or hay fever.

It seems to me that fruiting shrubs and trees are probably the perennials that most reliably produce useful amounts of palatable food. Aside from asparagus and nettles of course.
 
gardener
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I'm growing cardoons as well, but haven't had a crop yet to know if it's worth it.


I look forward to seeing what you do with it! I had some success with them but didn't find anything to do with them aside from the old bread-and-fry (we don't fry in my house, so sigh. I ended up broiling it with olive oil). It was meh and even though the rabbits enjoyed it mightily, I couldn't justify a plant that takes up almost a square meter and nearly an entire year for a single meal (see also, artichokes). It didn`t make the cut, and I haven't planted it since.
I have collards that last a few years- if you can get perennial kale, that would be equivalent. I love it and we eat it often. I'm trying pigeon peas this year, not sure how that will go but i`ll try anything.
I do like french sorrel, but I use it as "dressing" for my other salad greens. I can't eat too much of it straight.
Other than that, as mentioned, fruit is my big perennial focus.
 
echo minarosa
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Heather Staas wrote:Sochan is really nice early greens, and lovely flowers and seeds for birds and pollinators later on.   It's delicious,  unlike things like violets or other wilder greens.



I do know and grow Rudbeckia laciniata (sochan...but I knew it as cutleaf coneflower) but I've never eaten it. I originally planted it for pollinator resources. That plant is tough as nails. I've given it to a lot of other people with little care other than forking it up, dropping it into a bag...even in the middle of hot summer days. I'll try it in a few weeks.

French sorrel,  I happen to love it!   It's so good in soups and sauces, not really a substantial dense calorie source but still yum.    And it's a bit more than just an herb or chive, it does have volume even though it cooks down.   Can eat it as a wrap or salad addition without cooking.  



I thought due to the oxalic acid that sorrel had to be cooked to neutralize?
 
Jay Angler
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echo minarosa wrote:I thought due to the oxalic acid that sorrel had to be cooked to neutralize?

Check out this thread.
https://permies.com/t/140414/kitchen/Sorrel-sneak-meals-people-noticing#1100998
Part of it seems to be sensitivity of the consumer - similar to food allergies - and also the overall dietary load, as it's found in many different foods. I've got French Sorrel started, although the spot I put it closest to the house seems to have been eaten by the insects - they obviously think it's edible!  My plan is to cook it in water first, and then add it cooked to other dishes at least at first so I can see how it goes.
 
pollinator
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Marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris) tubers are really tasty, particularly fried. It's a cousin of crosne (Stachys affinis) so I suppose the taste of that is similar. I seem to remember reading somewhere, sometime that one of them might or might not store inulin, though, but I can't find the info now. Anyway, if you're sensitive to sunchokes it might be worth starting with small quantities, just in case.
 
pollinator
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I have written of my struggles with this as well.  My quest for good-tasting perennials continues, but for now, berries, asparagus, and walking onions are the only worthwhile things I grow, unless you count my fruit trees.  I grow other things, herbs, horseradish, and the like, but they are more used to spice food than they are food themselves.  I've often seen people talk about foraging for food in the event of some kind of SHTF emergency.  I struggle to believe a person can forage enough calories to account for the ones burned walking around to forage.  Foraging in my climate is an interesting novelty at best.  Maybe in the tropics it's possible.  Here, a person would quickly starve if they were relying on it.  Sadly, if they had to live on my perennial plants, they would have the same fate.  
 
pollinator
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I finally got a harvest from my hopniss (Apios Americana, also known as American Groundnut) this year, and I really like the flavor. I've just peeled them, chopped the larger ones into bite sized pieces, added some sort of oil/fat, salt, sometimes other seasonings, and baked them in the oven either by themselves or in a mix with other roots. They can absorb a good amount of oil/fat. I only hot a small harvest this year but am looking forward to trying more of them prepared in different ways in the future. Samuel Thayer says he likes mashing them and using them similar to refried beans.
 
Trace Oswald
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Richard Kastanie wrote:I finally got a harvest from my hopniss (Apios Americana, also known as American Groundnut) this year, and I really like the flavor. I've just peeled them, chopped the larger ones into bite sized pieces, added some sort of oil/fat, salt, sometimes other seasonings, and baked them in the oven either by themselves or in a mix with other roots. They can absorb a good amount of oil/fat. I only hot a small harvest this year but am looking forward to trying more of them prepared in different ways in the future. Samuel Thayer says he likes mashing them and using them similar to refried beans.



That sounds like something I would like to try this year.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Do ground squirrels eat hopniss? I tried google, not much help.
 
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We have a lot of weeds that come back every year like perennials without being planted, and so I allow them space in our yard.  We haven't actually gotten around to trying to cultivate them yet, but it's on the list.  My two favorites are shepherd's purse (delicious, like mild broccoli, but fairly small as a food source as it doesn't seem to grow thickly -- still, a nice treat) and more substantially, purslane, which is lemony and delicious and supposedly quite full of nutrients, and it grows for a long period of the year and is easily harvestable in small amounts as it keeps growing back.

Rosehips are nice to nibble on and make tea, and of course they come back every year -- but we try to find individual plants with better tasting fruits; they really vary a lot.  Some are downright bitter and dry, while others are more sweet and soft, and everything in between.

We have huge patches of chickweed and violets that are edible and come back in force every year for long periods of time at once, too, but we like to keep them around for the animals and the novelty of eating neat weeds/showing people, rather than the taste... I think chickweed tastes like hay smells and violets aren't really my favorite flavor either.
 
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Two perennial vegetables I would endorse are hopniss, already mentioned, and hostas, which are a real delicacy just as they are coming up as shoots.  I understand one can also eat the older leaves, but I haven't tried them.
 
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We planted Black Scorzonera and another similar one with white roots, bought from Burnt Ridge Nursery in 2013.  The black roots are supposed to be similar to Salsify but I have not tried either as only the white rooted plant made it and spread like crazy; it self-seeds and also was perennial in northern CA and seems to be here in western MA (zone 5b but only tested in a very snowy winter that may have kept it above 0F)).  The leaves are good in salad when young, which includes the tender tops even in summer.  The roots are probably good too, but not very thick (pencil thick maybe more for an older plant).  It is a bit spicy, not nearly as much as mustard or horseradish which it resembles vaguely in appearance.  

The purple flowered thistles can be ground in a blender with apple and lemon to make an energizing and cleansing drink.  Just wash the thistles handling them by the roots, or use the leaves only but handle with scissors or gloves or both.  Cut them to fit in the blender and add pure water, lemon and apple.  Strain through a nut milk bag and compost the mash.  DO NOT use yellow flowered thistles like star thistle; they are poisonous!  We use bull thistle, canada thistle, and in CA used Italian or Milk thistle.

Stinging nettle is delicious, buttery in flavor, and good any way as long as you either crush the stinging parts (blend into a raw smoothie or pesto for example) or heat it (as tea, cooked greens, last thing added to a stew right before it comes off the heat).  Gloves and scissors once again are useful to handle it.  If shade or part shade grown, it can be eaten almost any time of year it is up; just select the tender top part before it blooms.  In most places it will leaf/shoot out again after fall equinox or so after the seeds mature (you can cut the flowers/seed stalks, soak in water a week or 2 for a nutritive if stinky medicinal spray or drench for your veggies or fruit trees).  

Yellowhorn tree leaves are passable, not my favorite.  Linden leaves are edible.  Of course dandelion, cat's ear (a fuzzy dandelion), ribwort or broadleaf plantain (slightly mushroomy flavor) are all good in salads (select only the most tender leaves) or smoothies.  If bitter bothers you (some people are more sensitive than others who actually enjoy bitters which are cleansing foods) then be sure to avoid dandelion and cat's ear especially in the hot months.  The tender small leaves are always best.
 
Bill Taylor
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I remembered hostas after seeing another post mentioning them.  I find cooking the tender leaves; in our eastern zone 5 location they are harvestable for over a month; makes them like spinach.  Raw, they burn my throat same as raw chard or evening primrose root; not sure everyone has that reaction.  I love bitter but that burning throat sensation of a few plants is horrible for me.  Last spring the hostas were our only go-to green for 6 weeks or so until the overwintered kale recovered and anything we planted was harvestable.  It emerges very early!  They seem to get tough before one can overharvest and destroy the stand (similar to asparagus but there the stalks begin to get smaller telling me it's time to stop).
 
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In my gardens and landscaping (7b) I have the following perennials or re-seeders that provide good food or garnishes in their season: cactus (for nopales and the fruits), purslane, chives, mints, poke berry leaves (my kids’ favorite green. Needs to be harvested only from young plants shorter than 12”), mache, sorrel (great as green sauce for fish or soup w potatoes), tulips, begonias, fennel (fronds, flowers, pollen, seeds), elderberry flower umbels, and tumeric (tubers and leaves. dig up each fall and overwinter inside), hop vines (shoots in spring are tasty vegetable). Lots of other herbs and seasonings are perennial in my yard, including saffron crocuses and bay laurel. I figure if they help make bland food extra palatable they should be counted.
 
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I find that the leaves of many plants are edible, good-tasting and productive. The leaves of horseradish are good-tasting and bountiful. The leaves of leeks are great-I leave the bulb in the ground and it keeps coming back. If you like green onions or chives, they taste similar but are HUGE compared to the others. The leaves of salsify are easy and bountiful; the same with earth chestnut, scorzonera/black salsify, nipplewort, dandelion, plantain, dead nettle, chickweed, small leaf linden, chicory, curly mallow, mulberry, hawthorn, birch trees, and, of course, mints.  Learn to forage.  Bring edible weeds into your yard, so you only have to weed for weeds you don't like.  They grow like weeds!

John S
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Echo everything mentioned above. Solomon's Seal is also supposed to be good, a bit like hosta, haven't tried it yet, but have grown it as an ornamental for years so maybe this spring....

my take on perennials is they are never going to be the mainstay of your diet, but worth having to add variety and diversity to meals. and if you don't have to put a lot of effort in to grow them so much the better. plus the satisfaction of pulling something straight from the garden into the pan.

btw someone mentioned cooking sorrel in water. this isn't necessary - I just dry fry it in a pan and it soon breaks down just like spinach as it has so much water in it.  I pass it through a sieve to tale out any stringy bits, and add it to mayo for a wonderful sauce for fish. 🙂
 
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We grow several varieties of perennial kale ( Taunton Dean, nine star broccoli and Daubenton. We are in west Cornwall UK, not sure what zone that is in USA. other foods we enjoy are Austarian tree cabbage, sea beat, the wild ancestor to all beats and Chard. Ghard can be perennial if you continue to cut the flower stalk and you dont have harsh winters. Still in the process of converting over to perennials have just planted Turkish rocket but unsure of its taste, however it is great for pollinators and has pretty yellow flowers, so even if its yuk they will stay, its a prolific self seeder so will need to be kept an eye on and is also hard to remove if you dont like it as any tiny piece of root will regrow.
 
master steward
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Hi Rob,

Welcome to Permies.
 
Trace Oswald
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If you eat hosta sprouts, does it kill the plant, or do they come back? We have dozens, maybe hundreds of them but I'd hate to kill them by eating the sprout.
 
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Perhaps one of my favorites so far is Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). It is so succulent and tasty! Amazing raw in salads. A friend gave me some that just randomly appeared in his beds last year. They didn't like being moved too much, as they were already flowering. They managed to make some seeds and I am hoping they'll show back up. If not, I will definitely be getting more seeds and trying to establish this plant in the shaded areas of my yard. I believe it grows as a perennial in zones 6-9 and an annual elsewhere.

I've read that you can eat the early shoots of hops and that they taste like spicy asparagus. I haven't tried it yet, but it's certainly an interesting idea since sometimes they can get rowdy and need some thinning.



 
pollinator
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Hi Echo,

I always boil my Jerusalem artichokes a couple of minutes in water with lemon juice OR vinegar to just cover, after a couple of minutes tip off the water then bring to the boil in lemon OR vinegar water again, a couple more minutes. Empty the water again and finish off cooking in plain water or fry or bake.

They contain high levels of inulin, a very gassy non-digestible carbohydrate that is fermented by gut bacteria and the acid in the lemon juice or vinegar will hydrolyze the inulin to fructose and a little glucose so it can be digested without the overproduction of gas.

Don't give up eating your 'chokes' as they are very nutritious and good for you, give this method a go, they are a wonderful perennial vegetable.

Also it is best to start off eating just a little and increasing the amount gradually as your gut adjusts to it. Hope this helps you get them back into your diet

If you are on a FOFDMAP diet you will need to avoid them but they are fine for anyone else.
 
gardener
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Trace Oswald wrote:If you eat hosta sprouts, does it kill the plant, or do they come back? We have dozens, maybe hundreds of them but I'd hate to kill them by eating the sprout.



they come back. they have enough energy saved to leaf out a number of times. taking the first growth really doesn’t seem to slow them down much at all.
 
master steward
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Rob Downes wrote:We grow several varieties of perennial kale ( Taunton Dean, nine star broccoli and Daubenton. We are in west Cornwall UK, not sure what zone that is in USA. other foods we enjoy are Austarian tree cabbage, sea beat, the wild ancestor to all beats and Chard. Ghard can be perennial if you continue to cut the flower stalk and you dont have harsh winters. Still in the process of converting over to perennials have just planted Turkish rocket but unsure of its taste, however it is great for pollinators and has pretty yellow flowers, so even if its yuk they will stay, its a prolific self seeder so will need to be kept an eye on and is also hard to remove if you dont like it as any tiny piece of root will regrow.



Hi Rob, nice to see another Brit here on Permies!
Perennial kale is good with me too. Only one of the two I started with likes it here on Skye though. I suspect you are theoretically zone 9 there like I am, but US zones don't translate well, since we are too wet in winter and cool in summer compared to the US. The closest climate is the NW of the states: Oregon and Washington I believe.
I'm very hopeful for my Turkish rocket. I've heard the flower buds can be used like broccoli which is interesting to me. I have a few plants which I'm hoping to try this year.  Probably the nicest perennial veg I've tried is my Japanese yam, although I think it needs warmer weather to do well. I find Hablitzia Tamnoides (caucasian spinach) perfectly pleasant too. Asparagus is great, although I grow it mostly in the polytunnel here because of the wind.  I'm still learning to cook solomon's seal to try and reduce the bitterness. there is a really nice undertaste I would describe as pea like, but the bitterness needs reducing a bit further for me.

 
gardener
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Chayote is my personal favorite. Very versatile perennial squash. It takes a little getting used to preparing it, but these days I have no problems peeling and chopping efficiently. We get so many we can't eat them all before we get tired of them for the year... we give as many as we can away and eat several dozen.

If you're far enough south green papayas fill a similar role.

Yams, like real yams are also popular.

Potatoes and Sweet potatoes too.

A lot of things are more or less perennial depending on how you manage them and your climate.

It might be that most of these are too warm climate for you, but I bet in the right microclimate you could get some results with most.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Claytonia hasn't been perennial for me in my outdoors zone 6 or greenhouse, zone 8 or 9. It self seeds profusely but my deep mulch tends to inhibit that so I actually lost it, didn't have any, and had to buy seed again.
 
pollinator
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Last March, I was already out in the garden planting early crop seeds. Not this year. We are usually protected from the Mid Atlantic and Eastern coast storms by 5,000 foot mountain ranges on both sides of our small valley. This late wintery storm is blasting us with "snow bombs" of gusting winds and snow and whiteout conditions at times. It's truly wicked out there. A whole 7 degrees temperature. I'm only braving the outside to quickly feed the poor birds that arrived for "spring", although the birdseed and birds get blown away pretty quickly.

So, for entertainment, I'll share my recent research on Jerusalem Artichokes, as mentioned above. Besides, I can't turn down the opportunity to actually say fart in a blog. (❁´◡`❁)   Because that's their nickname: Fartichokes. I follow the blood type diet because, as it happens, it works stupendously for me. And "sunchokes" (a name tagged onto them in the 1960's to rebrand them) are on the "beneficial list". Tried them a couple of years ago and said No Thanks. Now that we live exclusively off our year-round garden for the vege side of things, I've ordered some seed. This year I have a binder where I'm printing out helpful tips/tricks/recipes for every plant that will be in our garden and orchard. And was reminded of the fart factor. Even though they didn't go down well (!) when I last tried them, I did like the crunch and taste. Surely there had to be a solution or they wouldn't have stayed around for so long. Here's what I've recently learned through some very deep internet digging:

Sunchokes are native to the Midwest states but have found their way around the world since North America was colonized. Native Americans planted them along their trails so they would always have food along the way, which I find so fascinating and wise. Apparently a professor of food biotechnology at England's University of Reading (hello, and thank you, across the pond) has been doing an indepth study and human testing on the value of the prebiotics in inulin--specifically sunchokes.

His advice is not to avoid them, but to eat a little of them for their wonderful prebiotic benefits. He suggests starting slow and building up on a regular basis so your gut microbiota will adapt. The proportion of beneficial bacteria will grow and gas producing bacterial will diminish. Not being a patient person and disliking that gaseous state, I wanted more. And found it. Can't attest to the veracity of any of the following yet, but I'll be planting them and trying out a few of these options.

Option 1:  Boiling the sunchokes in water and lemon juice or vinegar (actually anything really acidic) will hydrolize the inulin. Apparently this makes them sweet and delicious but they lose their artichoke flavor. No doubt, they also lose their crunch. (This from the professor so I'm thinking this is a strong candidate.)

Option 2:  Pickling them in a traditional fermentation method removes the gaseous effect but retains the artichoke flavor. And, I thought this way too funny, and can't wait to try pickling them: the gas in the sunchoke manifests itself as bubbles in the pickling jar...rather than your intestines. By the time the pickles are ready to eat, the inulin is mostly consumed and the "bacteria farts" (the author's words...not mine) float away when you open the jar. Apparently this is a common pickling recipe book mainstay.

Option 3:  Cook them in combination with Winter Savory. (Not Summer Savory)  As in a frittata, or "potato" pancake, etc. I'm really interested in this line of thought as I can't eat potatoes as it gives me agonizing arthritus.  Replacing that kind of starch for me would be wonderful.

Option 4:  If making them into a soup, add carraway or fennel seed. And eat with whole grain toast. Apparently Jerusalem Artichoke soup is highly favored in France. There is also a long list of herbs and spices that are said to aid. Especially those used in Thai and Indian cooking where they are used to combat gaseous ingredients. Google it.

Option 5:  Slow roast for an hour or add to a slow cooker stew. This one seemed iffy. Some spoke in favor, others said didn't work. Leading me to believe some of us are more prone to its effects.

Option 6:  Soak in salted water and then cook in milk. Ditto.

Lest you still want to give up, I'm intrigued by the benefits of eating them:

1) Prebiotic effect which fights off harmful bacteria. We can all use that.
2) Can help with blood glucose levels.
3) Can help with digestive problems. Yes, interested.
4) Can help control cholesterol.
5) Can really help with new blood cell formation.
6) Can help control blood pressure.
7) Can help boost the immune system.  Bingo. My biggest interest in the lovely "Fartichoke" as this is a main health issue for me.

Here's an interesting article on the topic.
https://modernfarmer.com/2018/02/jerusalem-artichoke-sunchoke-recipe-prevents-gas/
Be sure to read the comment section at the bottom. For information. And laughs.

My "a ha" moment came when I learned that inulin, in varying degrees, is also found in chicory root, bananas, rye and barley grains, leeks, onions and garlic. Finally an answer as to why I love a mess of sauteed onions but my gut doesn't.
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Chris Whitehouse
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Some fantastic info here - many thanks for the tip on Jerusalem artichokes, will give them a try. I have always been put off by the gastric tales of disaster!

Another perennial I had is purple tree collards, but it only survived a couple of years. My fault I think as I kept moving it while I reorganised my veg beds, and didn’t stake it properly. Also the cabbage white butterflies loved it.😢  We did manage a few meals from it and it was very tasty so I am not giving up yet. Cuttings seem easy to strike so 🤞

I also have some hablitzia which does well, but not so keen on that.
 
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Molly, thank you for that fascinating info on the fartichokes 😂 Actually got some in the fridge at the moment. They grow well for me, but not been brave enough to eat them (yet!). As one of my current fascinations is lacto fermenting, I think I’ll chop some up and ferment them and see how they turn out. My sauerkraut turned out amazing, so fingers crossed 🤞 so will these!

You have my sympathies on the onions thing. I too love sautéed onions, but eating too many at once invokes some pretty unpleasant side effects.
 
greg mosser
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i lacto-ferment grated sunchokes like sauerkraut. the flavor is awesome, very nicely sweet-and sour. any bits that come in contact with air tend to turn a fairly unappetizing grey-brown, unfortunately. still tastes fine, but not the prettiest food.
 
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Kathy Crittenden wrote:Two perennial vegetables I would endorse are hopniss, already mentioned, and hostas, which are a real delicacy just as they are coming up as shoots.  I understand one can also eat the older leaves, but I haven't tried them.



Hi Kathy - so how do you prepare the hosta shoots?  saute?  raw?
 
John Suavecito
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I do sometimes have cabbage moth (cabbage white butterflies) in my kale, collards, mustard greens, cabbage, etc.  I like to play badminton, but I can rarely find anyone to play with. I leave a badminton racket out in a handy area of the yard near those plants.   I play badminton with them! They don't like it so much, but if I don't kill them, they quickly fly off to someone else's yard.  Solves the problem, and I get to play badminton!

John S
PDX OR
 
Heather Gardener
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greg mosser wrote:i lacto-ferment grated sunchokes like sauerkraut. the flavor is awesome, very nicely sweet-and sour. any bits that come in contact with air tend to turn a fairly unappetizing grey-brown, unfortunately. still tastes fine, but not the prettiest food.



Cool, I don’t have much patience for grating, I prefer to chop things really finely instead, but it’s great to know that the flavour will be good. Might utilise some whole fermented cabbage leaves as a ‘lid) to prevent the pieces reaching the air. I don’t think the colour will bother me to be honest, but if it does then I can quickly turn it a pretty red shade with the addition of some red cabbage/beetroot.
 
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One of the best tasting wild foods I tried was milkweed buds-  I just pan saute with a little butter.  I also have sunchokes but did not like the distress they caused. Will have to try some of the suggestions. I also use the orange dayliles- flowers as well as buds. Use in small amounts as some cannot eat with out problems. The milkweed did not need any prep beyond washing . I did not need to boil  first as some books say to do.
 
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