Sometimes I tire of eating.
Part of this apathy stems from the fact that I cook every meal I eat – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and part of it is living in small-town in Ontario, at the end of a very long winter, when there is not a lot of variety, particularly local grown.
But there is hope.
Spring will eventually come and I have a spot that doesn’t have flowers, but will soon have some traditional vegetables – carrots, beans and tomatoes – as well as some unique edibles, thanks to DK Books Grow Something Different to Eat by Matthew Biggs ($28.95).
At the top of my list is Society Garlic, which doesn’t cause bad breath despite eating the leaves, steams, buds and flowers; Sushi hosta (“now’s your chance to beat the slugs and snails at their own game and eat your hostas before they do. Hilarious); and Strawberry spinach, which is native to northern Canada and you can eat both greens and fruit. I might be most excited about this vegetable. And it’s beautiful, too.
There are a number of truly unique food items under the categories of fruiting vegetables; salad vegetables; leafy greens; roots, bulbs and shoots; grains and seeds; herbs and spices; and fruit. Each item has information on what it is, along with pictures, how to grow it and the care it requires, a quick growing guide and cooking tips, among other things.
I like that a lot of the plants are great pollinators, but I worry as many of the items are not native to Canada, which may cause harm to our natural plants.
However, the camas is native to western Canada, a perennial bulb that can be baked or slow cooked, tasting somewhere between a baked fig, roasted chestnut and caramelized onion. However, they do take some patience in cooking: “Camas bulbs were once an important wild harvest for Native Americans in North American, who would bake them en masse in fire pits. Be warned, they are the ultimate slow-food vegetable, taking anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to cook – but the sublime taste is worth the effort.”
I would be willing to grow it, if someone else would be willing to cook it.
A copy of Grow Something Different to Eat was provided by DK Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.