New vegetables

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David Bracey

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New vegetables
« on: June 06, 2013, 12:51:08 PM »
My wife has just come home with some "wild asparagus" bought in a local supermarket.

This has proven to be Ornithogaum pyrenaicum or Prussian asparagus, Bath asparagus, wild asparagus,Pyrennnes star of Bethlehem etc.  It is obviously produced commercially , but where? The supermarket is part of a German chain, which may be a clue.

We will prepare and eat it like normal asparagus. I would be pleased to hear members comments?

Should we start a new thread about unusual vegetables?
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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JTh

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 04:45:25 PM »
I never thought of eating Ornithogalum pyreanicum, I would have guessed it was poisonous. There is a link to 19 common edible wild plants here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/10/06/surviving-in-the-wild-19-common-edible-plants/, I have eaten many of them, including cat tail, but also many not on the list, such as fiddle heads (Matteucia struthiopteris)
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 06:49:48 PM »
David, I think it's the "asperge des bois" which is Ornithogalum pyrenaicum, not "asperges sauvages", which are the true wild original species Asparagus officinalis or one of its close relatives, from which those fat commercial cultivars have over millennia been developed (and to which chance seedlings tend to revert).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

David Bracey

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 07:18:28 PM »
Alisdair, i agree! My point is that someone somewhere is growing O pyrenacium.

 I have collected wild asparagus in the wild and no way could this stuff be collected ( and graded), in sufficient quantities to be sold in a supermarket.( unless there is someone in East Europe doing it).

Here is another unusual vegetable worthy of consideration New Zealand spinach., Tetragonia tetragoniodes. It grows well in the Languedoc and provides leaves during much of the year. According to the myth Captain Cook served it to his sailors to help prevent scurvy.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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Rosie

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New Zealand spinach, alive and well in Portugal !
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 08:42:39 PM »
Hello, I could not believe my eyes when I saw David B suggesting New Zealand spinach as a 'new' or unusual veg. This marvellous green veg. comes to us each week in our organic veg box from the local agricultural cooperative. Pic attached of this week's bunch. Great with scrambled eggs for breakfast ! If you haven't, do try it. Rosie

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JTh

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 08:43:12 PM »
I found this photo at Wikimedia (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Asparagus3.JPG), with this text:

Three kinds of Asparagus officinalis (asparagus); white (rear), green (middle), and Ornithogalum pyrenaicum (sometimes called "Bath Asparagus")(front), at a Boston, Massachusetts, USA market.

So there must be some places where they are grown for sale.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

David Bracey

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 06:29:42 AM »
Probably the US.!
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

Umbrian

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 06:42:54 AM »
Wild asparagus is collected here in Umbria, sold at local markets and features on menus in local restaurants.
The growing tips of Clematis vitalba and Humulus Lupulus are also gathered and eaten in homes although I have never tried either of those. The Italian's inventiveness for varying the sauces they dress their daily pasta with never ceases to amaze me and although times are easier now the countryfolk still love to keep up their traditions in this repect. It is not unusual to see the older folk gathering wild salad leaves along the roadside verges in spring although with the increase in traffic and the accompanying pollution I am not sure how tasty and nutritious they are in these modern times ???
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Trevor Australis

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 11:03:35 PM »
Even way Down Here it is quite common to see older European migrants foraging for wild endive, fennel, globe artichokes, asparagus, mint, water cress, dandelion leaves etc. In comparison more recent migrants from SE Asia do not have a tradition of gathering wild food. Instead their old folk have tiny but incredibly productive vegie patches. There are also restaurants that specialise in 100Km cuisine that only utilise produce grown within that radius from their establishments. These also make use of wild foods - and charge for it.

Incidentally, my wife and I went to the Central Market in Adelaide late y/day afternoon and saw fresh cepes wild harvested locally: the first time ever. There were also wild harvested pine mushrooms. Things are looking up! tn
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

Alice

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 09:10:38 AM »
I came across a new (to me) vegetable only two weeks ago. It is known locally as "kalfa" and turns out to be the florets of Opopanax hispidus.
As far as I know, it grows fairly high up in the hills in the Cyclades and other Aegean islands.
It is very tasty as a boiled salad and resembles somewhat the florets of green broccoli in appearance and taste. It is collected in spring and early summer and I read somewhere that it is traditionally eaten at Easter on Paros.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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JTh

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2013, 09:41:10 AM »
This is not really a new vegetable, since it has been used since antiquity, but I was very surprised when I discovered that wild purslane (Portulace oleracea) grew aboundantly as a weed in my garden in Greece, I used to grow it from seeds as a vegetable i Norway.
It is said to contain more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant, plus many vitamins, minerals and pigment types that are potent antioxidants. Besides that, it is also considered to be a beneficial companion plant, since they make a ground cover stabilizing moisture. And according to Pliny, it is advisable to wear the plant as an amulet to expel all evil, because of its haling properties. You can't ask for much more!
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

David Bracey

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2013, 09:43:32 AM »
Portulaca is a favourite salad of the Spainish but I have never found the "succulent" stems, which is the bit you eat, very appetizing. 

I have tried to grow okra several times from seed without much success. It always turns out to be twiggy with fruits which never seem to ripen. Who eats okra and where and how is it grown?  If gumbo was more popular we may see more of it.

Opopanax is completely new to me.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

Jill S

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2013, 11:52:30 PM »
Hi David, OKRA, not really that unusual, a common vegetable in Indian/Asian curries and bhaji's (Bhindi bhaji). The seed pods (fruits) can be used when they are still slightly firm or left to soften up on the plant, they remain green and useable even when fully soft. They are used as either a veggie in own right or as a thickener. They have a viscous sap within them, hence the Gumbo? 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 11:58:52 PM by JillS »
Member of RHS and MGS. Gardens in Surrey, UK and, whenever I get the chance, on Paros, Greece where the learning curve is not the only thing that's steep.

Alice

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 07:25:58 AM »
Okra are eaten quite a lot in Greece too, cooked in a tomato sauce.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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John J

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Re: New vegetables
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 09:17:23 AM »
Ditto Cyprus, Alice.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)