Tendrils: Potatoes

Hello, and welcome to Tendrils. I’ve had a strong urge to make the world a better place this week. I have moved my savings account to an ethical bank (Triodos), which was quick and easy. I’m not a Rockerfeller, so it’s not much, but it’s something. This morning I have made bread, and I have dug up my Axona potatoes. Its presence on the To Do list made it feel like a chore, but actually I really enjoyed digging up the potatoes today. I used my hands and rifled through the soil. I doubt I’ve got them all, but I’ve got a trug so full I can barely lift it. I’ve put some in the fridge; the rest are sitting in a jute sack in the shed, where I hope they will safely store until we need them. I’m looking forward to having a homegrown baked potato for lunch.

If you’d rather just sleep for a week and dream of better times, then there are plants that can help with that, but as The Planthunter explains in Nightshade Flights, the siren song of some plants can take you places you didn’t intend to go.

Forager Robin Harford has shared his recipe for burdock root chips on the Woodland Trust website. You can use either the roots of Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) or Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus). Burdock isn’t commonly grown as an edible in the UK, but is used in Japanese cuisine (as gobo), and is apparently easy to grow if you’d like a regular supply. You won’t find burdock in mainstream seed catalogues, but Victoriana Nursery Gardens is one supplier with seeds currently available for dispatch.

Burdock may be a root too far for most Brits – apparently we’re not the most #vegcurious of people.

Vegcurious – Exhibiting an above average curiosity and inquisitiveness about vegetables. Proclivity to experimentation and trying new eating choices (particularly where it comes to eating vegetables in new ways), but not necessarily ready to commit.
Hubbub are partnering with the Eating Better Alliance to encourage men to discover the amazing taste and nutritional possibilities of vegetables, to improve their health and help the planet at the same time. The website has recipes suitable for all levels of #vegcurious cooks, from beginners to more advanced vegephiles 🙂

If you are #vegcurious and are thinking that now might be the time to spend your money differently, then consider signing up for an organic veg box scheme. Ryan and I use (and are very happy with) Abel & Cole; we’ve been using them for more than a year now, and have graduated from just veg to buying some meat and fish from them, too. New customers I recommend can get their 1st & 4th box half price, so just drop me an email if you’re interested (I would also get £10 veg credit if you choose to sign up). Yum!

Speaking of yum, I really must add some roses to the garden next year. I have long been longing for both rosehips and rose petals to cook with. I adore rose flavours (and yet, don’t often get them, so I must try harder). Penny Woodward has given me yet another reason to grow them, with her recipe for Rose petal and strawberry jam. A rose by any other name would still taste as sweet….

Cooks Lane Herbs reckon that if you’ve got 20 minutes you can make some fir cone firelighters, which will be useful this winter. And who doesn’t enjoy a stroll through the wood, looking for pine cones? It sounds like the perfect soothing weekend activity to get over the upsets of this week.

Good Food Oxford have a collection of tasty pumpkin recipes, if you haven’t eaten your way through your stash yet. Meanwhile, scientists are banking on wild relatives of pumpkins and other crop plants to feed the world in the future. It’s all in the genes….

HunterGatherCook is also banking on the wild side, with a definitive guide to eating dandelions that also include a recipe for ‘the ultimate pickling liquid’. Yes, you can pickle dandelions. Go ahead, take a look, you know you’re curious 🙂

Dandelions were probably more commonly eaten in history, but there were vegetable crops in the Middle Ages as well, which makes for an interesting article. I can’t build you a time machine so you can go back and change what’s happened, but I can send you back in time for a little while. Wouldn’t you love to go back and take a peek at what people were growing then, and how?

I’ll leave you all happily pottering about the Medieval veg patch, and will return with a new edition of Tendrils next week. Have a happy and abundant weekend!

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