Organic agriculture and biodiversity have in recent years brought about a rediscovery of many “forgotten” vegetables that people especially in Europe and France conscientiously tried to forget as they reminded them of the privations suffered during WWII. The same people had then to make do with untraditional vegetables because potatoes, carrots and so on were confiscated by occupying forces or their own armies.
With sustainibility and bioagriculture made more important by the deficiencies of modern mass agriculture, those “forgotten” vegetables have suddenly come to the fore for the pleasure of all, and that of course of vegetarians and vegans!
This particular series of postings will introduce these vegetables one by one. I hope they will become useful for a long time to come to all my vegan and vegetarian friends!
1) Scorsonere/Oyster Plant
Potimarron, or Cucurbita maxima, Duchesne, 1786 in Latin, is a variety of Potiron,pumpkin, actually nearer to the Japanese kabcha that our big things growing before Halloween.
Talking of kabocha, the Japanes have started ptimarron to the extent that they call it Hokkaido squash!
This cousin of cucumbers has its own characteristic taste, very reminiscent of chestnuts.
Its colour is usually deep orange-red, but can be found in pink, bronce or green colours through mutation.
Although it has been grown for a long time in the Far Esat, especially in Hokkaido, Japan, its origin is American.
But the main reason why it is grown in Europe and Japan is not so much the taste, which is great, but the incredible amount of beta-caroten, a vitamin essential for fighting ageing!
Moreover Potimarron is very ric in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and oligo-elements (Phosporus, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, silicium, sodim…), amino acids and unsaturated fat amino, and natural sugars.
The longer the fruit is preserved inside a dry cellar, the nore its vitamins and sugars increase!
Growers have noticed that after extracted the seeds by hand, the skin of their hands stayed soft for two days as if they were coated with wax!
Naturally potimarron, like pumpkins can be prepared in numerous ways: has/mash, soups,
and of course tarts, mousse, Japanese cakes/wagashi as desserts, or in pies, or baked with garlic!