How to Harvest & Prepare Perennial Vegetables at Home

Saturday, January 25, 2020
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Workshop Description

There are many perennial vegetables that we would do well to adopt into our gardens, but what exactly do you do with them once you get them into your kitchen?

Ben Caesar of Fiddlehead Nursery will provide some ideas about how to use the bounty of shoots and greens and edible flowers and roots and tubers that the perennial vegetable patch produces throughout the season.

He’ll cover how and when to harvest efficiently; how to clean, peel, parboil or otherwise prepare these unusual (but highly nutritious) vegetables.

How do you safely prepare pokeweed?

What do you do with a glut of black locust flowers?

How do you make use of all of the various potherbs that volunteer themselves for the pot?

How do you make a delicious salad with 25 ingredients?

And how do you preserve some of the bounty for the winter?

Ben will cover some basic ways of preparing perennials that are highly versatile and flexible, allowing a wide range of different plants to be used interchangeably. This leads naturally to a hugely diversified diet.

Topics covered will include:

  • Perennial salads through the seasons
  • The Smoothie as catch-all
  • Preparation techniques for particular spring shoots
  • Green Sauce for pasta and rice
  • Freezing your Greens
  • Pistic: the Mediterranean Spring Soup
  • Other traditions of using wild-foraged food
IMG_4326 Perennial Salad 1080 sq

A perennial salad.

Roasted hosta greens.

Pokewood shoots.

Daylily and milkweed buds in a stirfry.

Ingredients in a springtime green sauce: fiddleheads, wood nettle & caucasian spinach.


Speaker: Ben Caesar

Ben Caesar has been experimenting with perennial edibles for many years, and opened Fiddlehead Nursery in 2012.

He manages (and eats from) an ever-expanding demonstration garden to showcase some of the best plants for edible landscapes.

He’s always trying out new edible plants, and is passionate about the idea of gardens that mimic the diversity and structure of natural ecosystems as they build soil and produce food.

In the winter, Ben makes his living as a carpenter.

When he’s not building or growing plants, he can be found walking in the woods or paddling local rivers.

He lives near Kimberley, Ontario with his partner and daughter.

Ben Caesar headshot adj w