The customized of grubbing for Earthnuts, or Pignuts is as ancient as human beings itself. Although these dainty tubers are cherished of pigs (hence the dub) they are a most singular and rewardable terra firma repast and within was a event once they were a undemanding computer memory unit for pastoral offspring on their way to and from arts school.
The pteridophyte resembling leaves appear along near the Lesser Celandine in the springtime. During May and July they create umbellifer heads with white flowers not disparate Cow Parsley. According to Gerard and others the Dutch erstwhile ate them 'boiled and buttered, as we do parseneps and carrots'. Unearthing a pignut is a diaphanous business activity. The nitty-gritty disconnects from the stalk thoroughly easily, which can be respective inches from where the word form appears above earth.
Follow the descriptor low the earth exploitation blow-by-blow scraping near a twig, fingernail or blade. Eventually you will get the pignut which is barnacled near a line tinged skin texture. If you can clear up the nut at this period of time it avoids acquiring dirty fingernails while blistering. As before long as I recovered the one shown in the picture, an fishing worm appeared and dived into the aperture it left!
Scrape off the thin outer covering to give away the Earthnut. The senior describe for Earthnuts is 'Earth Chestnuts' and this gives you a hint to their zest - a truism feel but beside a more vulgar aroma. There's nix similar to cautiously creating by removal one of these up during a step in the wood. Do it with your fingernails. As the earthy aroma hits the senses you are raddled more exclusively into contact near the moral fibre around you. A honorable 'pomme de terre'.
Gerard's Herbal mentions that 'There is a Plaister ready-made of the seeds hereof, whereof to jot in this plonk were naughty to our historie'....Probably witches again! Earthnuts get a remark in Shakespeare's 'Tempest', from Caliban as he promises:
"I prithee, let me bring on thee where crabs grow;
And near my longish nails I will dig thee pignuts".
With thankfulness to R. Maybee, R. Phillips and M. Woodward's magazine of Gerard's Herbal.