Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Back to my roots!
This is a photo of our first white carrots, planted earlier this year from a packet of heritage seeds.
Carrots in the early Medieval period were apparently this colour rather than the bright orange ones we see today which are a much later development - Dutch 17thC without looking it up, so don't quote me on that, but definitely not medieval. I cooked them this evening as on ordinary veg along with some standard orange carrots and the flavour was excellent. My husband, the grower, also assures me that the white carrots were more slug resistant than the orange. Now I've got my paws on the crop I'm going to embark on cooking some medieval recipes with them, including fritters and a stew in which the carrot goes in near the end along with crushed coriander seeds.
Ever since we've been married - 27 years now - we've always had an allottment and grown our own fruit and veg. Even when it wasn't fashionable to grow your own and be organic, we were. We're self sufficient for most of the year in potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, beetroot, peas, parsnip, broccoli, beans (broad, runner and French), leeks, brussels sprouts and cabbage. We're also self sufficient in a wide variety of soft fruits - plums, cherries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants. We have two bramley apple trees, a golden delicious, a 'mystery tree' (husband can't remember but reckons it's a cox crossed with something else and the apple can be either an eater or a cooker) and a greengage. We grow tomatoes in the greenhouse, which also harbours a very productive grape vine. It's wonderful to have our own produce. We know what's gone on it and into it. The taste is fantastic when compared to supermarket fare and it's ecologically sound in terms of the travelling it does. Of course the picking and freezing makes for a lot of work, but once everything is frozen and stored, it's there for the use of throughout the year and all the slicing, podding and chopping makes a good occasion for family bonding sessions! Cultivating one's own produce definitely give one a feel for the rhythm of the seasons and keeps one in touch with the land and literally one's roots!