As mentioned in my previous post Studio Bloem has started a new research project, ‘The Perennial Kitchen. This project explores the use of perennial plants, shrubs and trees in the creation of food and drink. Perennials, shrubs and trees have the advantage over many standard food crops as they reduce disturbance of the soil. Further benefits include:
They are less likely to suffer of diseases,
Often are better for wildlife as many of them are native and often support pollinators, and
Overall they require less work as there is no need to sow them each year.
The Perennial Kitchen will not only explore growing these crops, but also what to do with them. I am hoping to share my many explorations with you. The latest one involves a UK native plant, named Garlic mustard - Alliaria Petiolata. This white flowering plant can be found on woodland edges, where it is very prolific at this time of year. Edible parts include the flowers, leaves and young Seedpods. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and have a very mellow garlic and mustard flavour as do the flowers and seedpods. I recently used the leaves of this plant, which is finally establishing well in my garden, to make a pesto.
Here is the recipe:
25g Garlic mustard leaves
50g toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, whichever your prefer
50g grated Parmesan
2 gloves of garlic
60ml of olive oil
A pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients except for the oil together in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Then gradually add the oil pulsing after every addition until a coarse paste forms.