The Backyard Larder

A place to explore and buy perennial vegetables and other food plants.

The Backyard Larder Blog

Exploring the possibilities of the perennial vegetable garden.

Introducing the Purple Tree Collard

Purple tree collard

This is a very special plant on my allotment because it took me ages to get one! I learnt about the purple tree collard probably from watching John Kohler’s YouTube videos about the perennial vegetables he grows in America. They seemed to be unobtainable here and for ages I couldn’t find anyone who would ship […]

The Silverwhips of Staithes

Wild cabbage, Staithes

Here are the promised photos of the ‘silverwhips’ of Staithes, taken on my recent visit. Silverwhips is the Staithes name for wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) according to tour guide company Real Staithes. The curators in the amazing local museum hadn’t heard of the name, but I found references to it in a book on Staithes dialect by Arthur […]

Wild Cabbage Update 4

Wild cabbage

Well that seems fairly conclusive – letting wild cabbage flower its heart out rather than chopping off the flowers as they appear led to a much better ‘leafing up’ after flowering. This was the plant early this year before flowering (in its second year). We’d been harvesting leaves all winter. Here it is flowering in […]

Replenishing the Sea Beet

Self-seeded sea beet

Sea beet plants (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima). A reliable source of great-tasting succulent leaves throughout most of the year. Most excellent perennial vegetable! Well-established now – I think these are four years old. Look at that thick stem! These plants were grown from seed I gathered on Anglesey. Drawing on this study which compared the life span of […]

The Perennial Potato Onion

In the South Devon and Botanical Society May Show of 1851 you could win a prize of one shilling and sixpence for the ‘best dish of potato onions’. I’m not sure I’d win any prizes for mine but they have in fact done better this year than previously, thanks to further additions of compost to the […]

Daylily fritters.

Daylily buds

Daylily buds… battered….. They were dipped in a batter made from 60g white flour, 1tsp baking powder, 120 ml beer and a pinch of salt, and deep-fried. Delicious dipped in ginger soy sauce (mix together 60ml soy sauce, 60ml water, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger, 1/4 tsp crushed […]

Blanching perennial cardoons

Young cardoon

The mighty cardoon; prized ‘architectural’ plant, top-notch bee plant but also a tasty edible (especially the fleshy mid-rib and stalks of the leaves). It is a perennial plant, often, but not always, surviving a British winter. Almost everything you read tells you that cardoon plants must be blanched (by either earthing up or wrapping in […]

Preserving globe artichokes in oil

Globe artichoke

I’ve learnt that in southern Italy globe artichokes are often preserved in olive oil. The idea appealed to me (imagine adding them to pizzas and stews or eating them puréed on toast in the middle of winter). I picked some young artichokes to try. This is just a very quick post to say, “hey, you can […]

Buck’s Horn Plantain

Buck's horn plantain

Yesterday I made a salad with buck’s horn plantain (Plantago coronopus, also know in Italy as ‘minutina’ or ‘erba stella’ (the latter seems to translate as star herb or star grass, and I’ve also seen it named ‘star-of-the-earth’). It has sweetish, nutty flavour and is quite mild. I mixed it here with spicy wild rocket leaves, […]

Chives

Chives – a perennial vegetable? When I first started selling perennial vegetables I pondered whether I could count chives as one. (I know ‘edibles’ is a handier term really, as it avoids not very meaningful distinctions between vegetables and herbs  – and dafter ones about whether to categorize tomatoes as vegetables or fruit! But I’ve stuck […]