Pignuts

Toddy

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Pignuts. Tasty, crunchy morsels. Considered a famine food now really, but if you're clever about it, easily found and worth the effort.

I grow some in pots. It's much easier emptying out a pot than it is trying to find a dog piddle free zone where they're growing profusely enough to dig up and gather without taking too many.

The seeds are abundant though, and if you scatter them (left too long, mine self seeded among the gravel around the slabs :rolleyes:) in good light in among dampish clear gravel or soil, then they'll come up easily for you.

It's only the start of January, yet mine are already showing their first leaves in the path, and they are just visible in the woods too. Tiny wee things looking almost like fine parsley. These have sprouted from last year's nuts.

 

Toddy

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I gathered some seeds from the woodland next to the garden. The Council cut back a metre from either side of the path, and that kills off anything like bluebells and pignuts that try to grow there, so any extra seed isn't going to survive anyway. I scattered them into the top of a pot of compost that I had topped with small gravel. The seeds just disappeared, but come Springtime I had a healthy looking potful of seedlings. I thinned them out and left them alone. Next year I emptied the pot to looksee and there were big healthy nuts at the bottom of every stem. This year we had the house re-roofed and re Sandtex'd. There was no way I was footering around with pots in the garden. The pignuts bloomed and self seeded themselves in the gravel of the garden path. Going to be fun digging those ones up :rolleyes:
Nice to see them thriving though :D

M
 

Woody girl

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Eat them raw! Tasty snack. My grandma used to dig them up on the way home from school. Quite rare now and a challenge to find even more to dig up as the stem is brittle and the "nut" or realy a tuber root is at an angle to the stem. You have to scrape the earth away gently following the stem untill you find it. They can be several inches deep. They are nut like in texture and pigs love them.... hence pig nut. Never cooked them as they are such a treat to munch raw.
 
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Toddy

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Sorry, cross posted with Woody girl.


They are edible just as they come. Sort of like a chestnut, fresh hazelnut, sometimes a bit like celeriac though not strongly so.

Supposedly they don't like the damp, well that's just wrong because they grow plentifully here in the most sodden wet part of Scotland that isn't actually a bog. They say the same thing about the lesser celandines though, and they're coming up in half my flower beds and in the cracks between the slabs of the path.

So long as they've got light and aren't sitting in water all year long they seem to grow fine.

M
 
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Janne

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Interesting, I have never seen that plant as edible!

Son had a taste of Hemlock last summer....
The idiot thought it was wild carrot. He did not swallow any, and managed to spit out the majority. Still had lots of stomach ache, and felt crap for a few days.
The doctor gave him stuff so he threw up, and passed the intestine content like a fireman's hose....
 

Toddy

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Pignuts, thankfully, are pretty much unmistakable.
They have a long skinny underground stem, and the 'nut' it attached to one side of that. It's much smaller than the other white umbellifleurs too. It doesn't have a purple splotched stem and it doesn't really smell either. It doesn't leak 'sap' and it doesn't have prickles.
Very easily overlooked, but once you know what you're looking for, and if it's in the area, it's pretty easy to find.

It seems to come easily from seed, but needs a year or two to produce any bulb worth digging up.
If I'm minded at the end of Spring I'll check and see if mine are setting seed, and if they are I'll happily pass some along. I generally just gather them and put them into my pocket and when I'm out for a walk I scatter the seed on disturbed ground.

I'm a guerrilla gardener of native wild edibles :D

M
 
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Janne

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I used to be a 'guerilla wild strawberry spreader' back in UK..

There is an area in Mayfield ( E.. Sussex) that is full of them.
My fault!

I love wild strawberries.

If do not touch GM foods if I can, but if somebody created a large strawberry using that technique, I would be very happy!

I wonder why humanity has not 'developed' the pignut?
 
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Woody girl

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Toddy can i please bag some seeds as it's relatively rare in this area. I only know of one place and it's private land. Owner doesn't realy like pig nut hunters! I'd love to grow a pot full for myself. Maybe gorilla garden some too.
 
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Toddy

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Toddy can i please bag some seeds as it's relatively rare in this area. I only know of one place and it's private land. Owner doesn't realy like pig nut hunters! I'd love to grow a pot full for myself. Maybe gorilla garden some too.

You are very welcome to seeds :) I think the areas that they would otherwise colonise are now heavily grazed and mowed down by machinery. Happy to help spread them around again.

While I mind too, do you have wild strawberries ? Mine are rambling all over the garden again and need pulled out. Happy to bag up some rooted little plants and pack into a plastic bottle to post.

They always have a tasty welcome treat for those who look, and they make the most wonderful syrup too.
https://bushcraftuk.com/community/index.php?threads/wild-strawberry-syrup.110435/#post-1352570

M
 

Broch

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The rough land around us, that is woodland edges and ungrazed field edges, are covered in 'wild strawberries' - unfortunately it's Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) :(
 

Woody girl

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Thanks Toddy. I do have plenty of wild strawberry in my garden. Have tried to put them in various places around town but the council does love it's strimmers ! Grown some this year to try spread further afield. If they survive will try to seed the pig nuts.
 

Toddy

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The rough land around us, that is woodland edges and ungrazed field edges, are covered in 'wild strawberries' - unfortunately it's Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) :(

If you want some of mine you're welcome :)
That said, John Fenna has them too and I don't know if he's close enough to you for the two of you to meet up.
Quite happy to bag and post though....or are the ones you have rare enough that you don't really want to introduce something else to compete ?

M
 

Toddy

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Thanks Toddy. I do have plenty of wild strawberry in my garden. Have tried to put them in various places around town but the council does love it's strimmers ! Grown some this year to try spread further afield. If they survive will try to seed the pig nuts.

They do indeed. The strimmers are lethal to so many things, from ground nesting birds to invertebrates and insects, as well as seeding native plants.

M
 

Toddy

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Looks like gravel to me... Crunchy, maybe, but I prefer tiger nuts.

:D :rolleyes:

I can't grow the yellow nutsedge here unless I keep it in the greenhouse for most of the year.
It doesn't thrive in our cold wet that freezes, then thaws, then freezes again, day after day after day at times.
Tasty though, and if you can grow them then brilliant.

M
 

g4ghb

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Sep 21, 2005
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Pignuts are one of those things I have only found a handful of times, I put it as much to ‘missing it’ as being in the wrong place at the right time!

Would you mind taking a series of pic’s through its ‘life’? I have a mental image of it as a shoot but not when it’s in flower or seed and it would be great to see a known plant grow :think3:
 

spandit

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Jul 6, 2011
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Toddy very kindly sent me some pignut seeds but they didn't take. I'd love to try again if they're still on offer. Wild strawberry too would be awesome.