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Author Topic: Eating Muscari bulbs?  (Read 9115 times)

SueG

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Eating Muscari bulbs?
« on: November 21, 2006, 01:49:44 PM »
My weekend newspaper on Saturday last had an article in it from the chef Giorgio Locatelli about lampascioni, or Muscari comosom or racemosum bulbs in jars. He says they are preserved in eaither oil or vinegar and are a speciality of Puglia.
Has anyone else heard of this, or have recipes for preserving them?? I'd read that the bulbs were not good to eat so guess the preserving process must address this issue.

Any ideas?

Sue
Sue Gill, Northumberland, UK

Thomas Huber

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2006, 02:26:32 PM »
Sue, I'm sure, I would NOT eat Muscari bulbs.  :P
But I've heard that Crocus corms are eaten in Jordan, Turkey
and some friends from Kirgysia told me,
they've dug up Crocus alatavicus and ate the corms.
Thomas Huber, Neustadt - Germany (230m)

David Shaw

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2006, 09:15:55 PM »
Puglia is a small principality just to the east of somewhere with a small, declining population.
You sure that you had not picked up an April edition of the paper, Sue? ;)
David Shaw, Forres, Moray, Scotland

Maggi Young

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2006, 09:42:21 PM »
Scary thought, eating Muscari, though after all they often crop well. I had a search about and found this reference to Sue's newpaper article :
http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/experts/giorgiolocatelli/0,,1608028,00.html
And I found this rather quaintly translated recipe page:
http://www.laterradipuglia.it/ing/lampascionifritti.htm
A look at other recipes for the Muscari comosum bulbs suggests that it is the bitterness that so alarms the rest of us that the  natives of Puglia, in the "heel" of Italy, find so tasty.  The bulbs are used as an  onion substitute to make the lampascioni preserve to last through the winter...they don't grow as fast as the onions, so you grow them for 4 or 5 years, then peel them, nick the end of the bulb, soak them for a day or so to reduce the worst of the bitterness (poison?) then cook  them up and preserve them for later... or for delivery to a very fashionable and doubtless expensive London restaurant!!
All most enlightening but I'm with Hub1 on this one, Sue, give 'em a miss and stick with a silverskin onion instead!
« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 09:44:10 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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canyoncreekman

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2006, 01:11:05 AM »
My wife and I have tried a few native bulbs from our nearby Rockies. I'm using 'bulb' in the most general term.

 One is the Camas, Camassia quamash. Natives collect them, mash them up and let them dry in the sun. I haven't done that but have eaten them in the spring when they are tender. They are sweet and crunchy but a bit 'blah'.
  A tasty bulb is the native allium, allium cernuum. It's best in the late fall after a touch of frost.  It's sweeter than most garden onions. It's a welcome addition to backpack food.
 We've tried the bulbs of the orchid, Calypso bulbosa, but they are small and too much effort to gather a bunch even though they grow in the tens of millions. We've tried frying them and they taste as close to 'nothing' as is possible. Natives would gather them in the thousands to snack on but I suppose they had a lot of time on their hands.
 Another favorite of the natives (and bears, etc.) is the bulb of glacial lilies, Etythtonium grandiflorum. They are suppose to taste like string beans but I found they tasted like string withouth the beans. Some say they are tastiest on a slope where a Grizzly has been digging in the Fall and turns over big chunks of earth exposing the deep growing bulbs .. these exposed bulbs sweeten up from nightime freezing.

 The earliest explorer of much of the  the Eastern Rockies was a Scot, David Thompson, exploring for the Hudson Bay company in the early 19th century.  The natives kept him alive by showing what native plants to forage for. They also, however, had a sense of humour as they would get a chuckle giving him something to eat that was bitter or inedible. they would watch him intently and he learned to keep a straight face while eating something disgusting and pretended to enjoy it.  Of course, the natives couldn't resist and would have to have a taste and he'd get his revenge. 
Nelson Delaney
Canada

SueG

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2006, 09:20:55 AM »
Hey ho so yet another money making scheme hits the dust!
Still I think I might go and annoy my local italian restaurant and deli to see if I can find a jar of them anywhere - I'll report back.
Maggi - that recipe page is wonderful!


Sue
Sue Gill, Northumberland, UK

Anthony Darby

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2006, 11:27:47 AM »
I think some muscari bulbs are eaten in Crete?

I also seem to remember reading about soldiers in days of yore sending daffodil bulbs home to their loved ones. Needless to say, instead of being planted they were treated as "some form of onion" with fatal results (we get our word narcotic from Narcissus).
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Anthony Darby

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2006, 06:45:18 PM »
According to "Wildflowers of Crete" [Vangelis Papiomitoglou and translated by Jill Pittinger:2006 Mediterraneo Editions ISBN 960-8227-77-1] "the bulbs of Muscari comosum constitute an excellent appetiser known as skordouláki, especially on Crete".
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Diane Whitehead

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Re: Eating Muscari bulbs?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2006, 06:14:32 PM »
M. comosa is not the only species eaten.  Here are two more.

From Cornucopia II, A Source Book of Edible Plants, by Stephen Facciola:

Leopoldia comosa:  bulbs boiled with oil and vinegar, pickled, or added to omelettes.
 Greeks and Italians believe they are diuretic and stimulate appetite. Preserved
bulbs are common in ethnic markets in North America.

Muscari botryoides flowers and flower buds can be pickled in vinegar.

Muscari neglectum, nutmeg hyacinth, flowers add a wonderful scented flavour
when sprinkled over rhubarb.  Bulbs are also eaten.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

 


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