1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Himalayan Balsam recipes

Discussion in 'Lovely Grub' started by reddy, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. reddy

    reddy Tenderfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire
    There is loads of this balsam stuff completely taking over the area where I live:eek: .

    I've believe it's edible - does it need any prep or can it be eaten raw?

    Are the seeds edible raw or do they need cooking etc? (esp. this time of year when they are ripe and popping all over the place!)

    I'd love to try out any recipes, and if it helps to stop the growth in any way then even better!
    (I'd use a net over the seed pods while collecting btw;) ).


    Any tips?
     
  2. Galemys

    Galemys Settler

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Zaandam, the Netherlands
    The seeds are edible raw, a pleasant nutty taste. The juice of the plant releaves nettle stings.
    That's about all I know, I'd be interested in recipes as well.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  3. reddy

    reddy Tenderfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire
    I wonder then if the seeds could be grinded, and used much as the plaintain seeds in another thread that's on this board? Would love to try it out, but I want to make sure that I won't make myself poorly! Would too many seeds make you ill I wonder?:confused:

    I wonder if you could eat the leaves like lettuce, or cabbage? Maybe boil the stalks (if edible)? Or crystalise the flower heads? (without the little bumble bees inside of course!)

    Any recipes greatly appreciated, and I'll carry on researching myself - if I find anything then I'll post it up on here....:)
     
  4. xylaria

    xylaria Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    llanerch
    I have tried eating the stems and leaves, both raw and cooked. I found stems best boiled a little in a shallow pan and the water disgarded and then fried in butter, but there was a taste that creeps up you after a few mouthfuls that is not very nice, and in truth I don't like it as edible plant. There is other ways of cooking it to experiment with.
     
  5. reddy

    reddy Tenderfoot

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Finally got round to trying the himilayan balsam!

    The seeds (raw) taste like soft hazlenuts:)

    The leaves (again raw and at the end of their season) tasted very very bitter at 1st, then after a couple of seconds totally changed and tasted like a sweet lettuce.

    Didn't eat much in case I developed a reaction to them as I'd never eaten balsam before, but no problems at all.

    Definately gonna try more, especially the seeds - very yummy:D
     
  6. Sableagle

    Sableagle New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I found this dreaded weed growing in the Carpathians recently and decided to have a nibble.

    Having chewed up most of several plants and spat out the fibres, I think I can clarify something about the flavour: the hollow stems are sweet lettuce. The knots between straight sections are bitter. If you cut out and discard the knots, the parts between will provide a pleasant ingredient.
     
  7. Stanleythecat

    Stanleythecat Settler

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wiltshire/South Gloucestershire
    I would liken the flavour of the seeds to something like beech masts rather than hazel. Very invasive stuff though so be careful where you walk afterwards.

    Leo
     
  8. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    25,436
    Likes Received:
    248
    Location:
    Mercia
    Grrrrrrrrr

    I have a personal war on Himalayan balsam

    Dreadful stuff for the local plants round here - I exterminate it on sight on our land. Fortunately its shallow rooted and easy enough to rip out pre flowering.

    Red
     
  9. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
    Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    34,783
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Location:
    S. Lanarkshire
    It's a dreadfully invasive plant along our waterways here :sigh:

    Swipe a kids fishing net across the heads to gather seeds. They pop all too easily but this gathers them in reasonable quantity.
    The ducks were eating the ones that ended up on the river last time I did this. I was quite pleased to see that :D

    What do you do with the ones you pull up BR ?

    cheers,
    Toddy
     
  10. shaggystu

    shaggystu Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    4,345
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Derbyshire
    same here. it's a plant i've only learned about since moving house earlier this year and it's really surprised me just how much it takes over an area. good to know that i can eat the stuff though, i might go for a little forage later on if the wind dies down a bit

    stuart
     
  11. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
    Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    34,783
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Location:
    S. Lanarkshire
    It's getting a touch breezy here :rolleyes:
    Actually I'm watching trees blowing almost horizontal :yikes:
    Might not be many seeds left in the pods if this continues.....just seen a pigeon going backwards :D

    cheers,
    M
     
  12. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    25,436
    Likes Received:
    248
    Location:
    Mercia
    Pre- flower, they go in the compost heap (which I get very hot). Post flower they get burned.

    They do need some dry stuff in to compost well as they are very "wet" plants
     
  13. Sableagle

    Sableagle New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    It's all over the show here too, taking over the rivers. That 7m range on the seed pods allows it to cross them and spread upstream quite quickly too. I'm thinking of launching my own local war on it next spring, before it flowers.

    A cautionary note about composting: pulled up whole and left, bare-rooted, on a pile of dry sticks, these plants will use their resources to flower, attract pollinators, produce seeds, mature them and ripen the seed pods. If there's so much as a flower bud on it, chop it off unless you're throwing them into a compost bin with a lid.
     
  14. Harvestman

    Harvestman Bushcrafter through and through

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Messages:
    8,656
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pontypool, Wales, Uk
    Just pull it up and kill it. Anything else risks spreading the seeds. Horrible stuff.
     
  15. Sableagle

    Sableagle New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    There are only two things that grow in the shadow of Himalayan balsam here: more Himalayan balsam and stinging nettles. Fortunately, the sting is really just a minor prickle and a bit of itching and the juicy inside of the balsam stem will wipe away much of the sting.

    What doesn't grow well in the shade is worse than a nettle: giant hogweed. JFGI, as they say. That stuff would almost have me reaching for the Agent Orange, and it's all over the place too, so the balsam has survived this year as the enemy of my enemy.
     
  16. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    25,436
    Likes Received:
    248
    Location:
    Mercia
    Not so much "A" compost bin with lid :)

    [​IMG]
    New Composting Area by British Red, on Flickr

    They don't half speed up the composting over my slat sided compost heap! Anything I want to rot quick goes into the "Dalek Colony" ;)
     
  17. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
    Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    34,783
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Location:
    S. Lanarkshire
    How do you get them hot ?
    I use three of these bins but mine are full of grapefruit sized wriggling masses of brandling worms.
    The soil they produce is wonderful but I don't put seedy things in because the bins don't get hot enough to kill them.

    cheers,
    Toddy
     
  18. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    25,436
    Likes Received:
    248
    Location:
    Mercia
    Plenty of green with a smaller than normal mix of brown, a good handful of compost accelerator early in the season to really get it cooking, keep it wet if starts to dry, keep the bins where the sun heats them up (the open part of that enclosure faces South). They should fairly steam (literally) when the lid comes off.

    I think its a volume thing too. I can fill three bins in an afternoon cutting grass in the paddock. I think if you don't add a lot of fresh at a time, they cool down a lot. Its a bit like old hay ricks catching fire if the hay is a bit green - large volume all decomposing at the same time.
     
  19. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
    Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    34,783
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Location:
    S. Lanarkshire
    Ah, I don't add any accelerator, and my gardens are small enough that even grass cuttings are well layered with weedings and stripped prunings and peelings.
    I tried adding horse manure one year but the worms just ate that up too.
    The soil that comes out is rich and black and crumbly though, and very fertile, so I'm not that fretted over it not killing off weed seeds. I just need to compost carefully; stripped hard stuff and seedheads go over the fence to rot down slow under the willows and hawthorns. There's very little light there so the seedlings don't survive.

    cheers,
    Toddy
     
  20. crwydryny

    crwydryny Tenderfoot

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    south wales
    hummm... never tried balsam, the stuff is everywhere where I live and where I work I'm tempted to try some of the suggestions here, though my boss would probably kill me (I still occasionally tease her for miss-identifying rosebay willowherb as balsam when she's the plant expert in the team lol)
     

Share This Page