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Perennial greens  RSS feed

 
John Saltveit
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Hi David,
I am interested in perennial greens. I currently use horseradish, salad burnet, good king henry, scorzonera, tilia cordata, grapes, and various weeds like dandelion and false dandelion. Can you think of other perennial greens and how to prepare them for the table?
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Dan Boone
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John, I am interested in what David will have to say on this topic.

Meanwhile, how do you use your burnet? The stuff I grew this summer (from seed, and it never got very vigorous, I have high hopes for more production next year if it survives the winter) was really fibrous and strongly-flavored, not really seeming to be a salad herb at all. I put a bit of it in soups but I'm somewhat at a loss for what to do with it if it should flourish.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Depends where you are... I also have dendelion, and a lot of self-seeded leaves like chicorea, purslane, chards, lettuces, poppies and more.
But in my climate I can have malabar spinach (a must! I have the red stem variety), new zealand spinach, both great for summer!
And I have this tree, grrr cannot remember its name, never! they call it miracle tree, and the leaf is tasting like radish, because it is of brassicales, though a lot of peole think it is an acacia because of the form of the leave, great, I got it, the moringa!
But no way with freezing appart for having it annual or in a pot...
I also have chayamansa, a real perenial green as well, both are trees... The chaya needs cooking.
 
Dave Kennedy
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Which perennial greens work best is pretty closely tied to where you are growing them. Xisca must be in a pretty warm location to be growing chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, C. chayamansa) and moringa or horseradish tree (Moringa oleifera). They are both amazingly good sources of many nutrients, but don't take to freezing temperatures. In cooler climates Chinese Toon or Fragrant Spring Tree (Toona sinensis) is an interesting choice. Grows up to
65 feet tall, it is a tree whose principal food product is neither fruit nor nuts,
but a leaf vegetable. The World Vegetable
Center in Taiwan rates Toon leaves as the most nutritious of all vegetables and the highest in protective antioxidants. It is usually kept trimmed to 6 feet or so when grown as leaf crop. The leaves have a distinctive but not unpleasant flavor of roasted garlic. They need to be eaten when young and tender or they can become too strong flavored and fibrous.

Another perennial leaf crop I like is Okinawa Spinach or Gynura (Gynura bicolor, G. crepioides). I would call it a die-back perennial in cooler climates, as it will be killed back to the ground in a hard freeze but spring back from its roots in the spring if given a little mulch protection. It has pretty leaves that are glossy green on the top and purple on the underside. Makes a very productive sprawling clump of greens about 3 feet high and 3 feet across. It has a slightly “piney” flavor reminiscent of rosemary.
 
Dan Boone
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I had not heard of the Toona sinensis tree before. For anybody who is interested, there are seeds available real cheap from Chinese and Indian sellers on eBay, free shipping. It sounds like achieving germination is tricky but by no means impossible.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Yes, I am in a warm place, no freezing.
I also have gynura, I cook it as I am not fond of it raw. Good ground cover.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toona_sinensis
"The young leaves of Toona sinensis are extensively used as a vegetable in China; they have a floral, yet onion-like flavor, attributed to volatile organosulfur compounds.[15] Plants with red young leaves are considered of better flavour than those where the young leaves are green"

And plants for a future : http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Toona+sinensis
 
steven Hendon
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Have you tried sea kale? I like it. Also, hostas are edible (the young shoots in the spring). The taste can be hit or miss but I was very lucky with some that came with the house (i wish I knew the variety) that are delectable.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Hostas are edible!!??
In what form? cooked?
They are supposed to be toxic to dogs because of saponins, so do we need to cook them and get rid of the water?

Are there some recommended species for an edible use? There are a lot of hostas...
 
steven Hendon
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Hostas are edible!!??
In what form? cooked?
They are supposed to be toxic to dogs because of saponins, so do we need to cook them and get rid of the water?

Are there some recommended species for an edible use? There are a lot of hostas...


yes they are. When the shoots break through in the spring,i cut them and steam them and treat them like I would asparagus. If you're not familiar with it plants for a future is a great resource in determining the edibility of plants.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hosta+longipes
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