In İstanbul the edible plants are not available as long as they are in the Egean region of Turkey. It is usually from April to May only that we can find them on the stalls of the open air markets. However, loving to consume edible plants, I could stock them in my deep-freeze the whole year long without loosing much taste to them. This way I could enjoy my favourite börek the entire winter (click here for the recipe) :)
Back in may, I bought so many edible plants, it was a bit of work to manage all that stocking process because you have to be quick otherwise the plants wilt and loose taste. But it was worth in the end of all that effort.
I used more or less the same process for all the edible plants that I stocked:
lambs quarters (white goosefoot, pigweed) - see picture below
wild radish (see picture below),
That’s what I did:
Depending on the edible plant, I steam-cooked the plant in my pressure cooker. As an alternative to steam-cooking in the pressure cooker, you can boil some water in a pot and soak the plants in the boiling water and take them out immediately with the help of a strainer. I find the steam-cooking method the most convenient as you don’t have to bother yourself with dripping water all around.
As for the duration of steam-cooking, it depends on the plant: For something quite rhizomorphous like golden thistle it took longer. For all the other kinds of grean leaves like dock I steam-cooked them until they are bright green in colour (meaning 1 – 2 minutes). In the case of plants with harder stems such as mellow, I cut their stems apart and steam-cooked them seperately and for 3 – 4 minutes. You have to see it for yourself because region per region, the same type of plant might have a harder stem or leaves. See the pictures below for a few examples of how the plants looked before and after steam-cooking in the pressure cooker.
After steam-cooking the plants, I squeezed them to get rid of the excess water and put them in the deep-freeze bags in portions that I thought I could use.Time to vacuum-seal the bag: Holding the open part of the deep-freeze bags between my index finger and thumb, I put in a drinking straw in the bag and I sucked the air out of the bag. Without letting much air back in, I sealed the bag with a coated wire. When the plant cooled down a bit, I put the bag in the deep-freeze.
|wild radish, jointed charlock, wild charlock|
|steam-cooked wild radish: bright green after 1 - 2 minutes of steam-cooking|
|Lambs quarters, white goosefoot, pigweed|
|steam-cooked lambs quarters: bright green after 1 - 2 minutes of steam-cooking|