Monday, February 6, 2012

Pretty Veggies

When I select vegetable varieties to grow, I'm really all about the flavor. I couldn't care less if a vegetable is ugly as sin. However, I do appreciate the charms of the beautiful ones too - especially when I'm perusing my photo collection on a dreary winter day! Here are a few of some of the lovelier veggies I've grown:

Shelly beans 'Vermont Cranberry'
The beans themselves are red-mottled as well, and quite tasty too! These are shelly beans (you don't eat the outside). Excellent over pasta with olive oil.

Winter squash 'Jarrahdale'
 I grew a number of different winter squash varieties, and 'Jarrahdale' (from Australia) was the biggest and loveliest. It was not actually my favorite for flavor (that would be 'Tetsukabuto' - a smallish black-green Japanese variety), but it did make an admirable soup. It's hard to tell the scale from the picture, but these things are pretty huge.

Potato 'Caribe'
 This was my favorite potato, which for some reason is hard to find. It's pretty early, and has crispy, juicy clear white flesh which is perfect for frying (my favorite thing to do to a potato). Smallish-medium sized, but prolific. The skin is a brilliant purple color - always used to make me giggle when harvesting it! It changes to a more appropriate brownish red when cooked. Seed potatoes for this variety have become hard to find for me, sadly!

Cabbage 'Early Jersey Wakefield'
 Okay this is probably weird, but I think cabbages are pretty! It's that blue-green color and the concentric whorls of succulent leaves that get me. This is 'Early Jersey Wakefield', a pointy-head which is easy to grow and has the most decent flavor and texture of any early cabbage I tried. (Most earlies are weak and insipid, and fall apart when cooked.)

Beet 'Cylindra'
 Beets are all pretty with their bloody-red roots and red-veined leaves. I liked 'Cylindra' best because the elongated shape means you get more beet per square foot of ground, and the rodents can't get at them as much. The flavor is excellent - deep, sweet and particularly beety.

Bok Choi 'Mei Qing'
Baby bok choi is pretty as well as delicious (at least, as long as it hasn't been perforated by flea beetles... that's what I need row cover for.) Oyster sauce - yum!

Carrot 'Mokum'
I still feel a kind of happy surprise every time I pull a carrot out of the earth! It's like finding bright orange buried treasure. Edible treasure - the best kind. 'Mokum' is my favorite early carrot for fresh eating - sweet, crunchy, and very carroty (not just sugary). The tops are a little fragile, but I can handle that.

Cutting celery 'Afina'
No, that's really not parsley - it's cutting celery (or herb celery). Again, probably odd of me to find it beautiful, but I just love that swathe of spring green. Cutting celery tastes even more like celery than regular celery, and is much easier to grow. Like parsley or other herbs, it has thin flexible edible stems. (It's widely used in Europe, which is where I first encountered it.) Seed germination can be a bit finicky, and growth is slow at first. I've had the best success sowing in flats inside, then transplanting to the garden.

June vegetable harvest
A harvest basket from one sunny June day, including Savoy cabbage, beets, carrots, lettuce, and parsley. I must have had borscht that day! If you could see the snow outside my window today, you might understand why this photo makes me sigh so wistfully...

Rosalind Creasy's gorgeous book will inspire you to make your veggie plot beautiful (mine really needs work in that area!)

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if i have your permission to use your "June vegetable harvest" on my website. It is a website that promotes pollinator conservation, and pollinator gardens in the Atlanta area.
    Here is a link to where i would hope to include it.



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