• In season now: May

    New this month: Asparagus! The food of gods... and carrots are back.

    Still in season from last month: cauliflower, chard, green cabbage, salad leaves, main-crop potatoes (from store), salad leaves, sea kale, spring greens, rhubarb

    Goodbye till next year to: Purple sprouting broccoli (sniff, sniff), leeks, stored parsnips, forced rhubarb

  • What I’m doing here

    This all started when I picked the first strawberries from my new allotment.

    I'd never been so enraptured or so excited by food. It was a shock to find that anything could taste so good.

    So what - I'd never had strawberries before?

    No - all the strawberries I'd had were shop-bought, like as not flown in from intensive growers in Spain or Chile, and eaten in winter when strawberries should be a distant summer memory.

    It revolutionised my thinking about the fresh food we eat every day. I started to wonder if you got the same amazing taste from all types of food grown and eaten in season. And then I decided to do something about it.

    The Year of Eating Seasonally is my little experiment to find out what it's really like not to have it all. The only fruit and veg I and my family are going to eat in 2008 will be what's growing in the ground at the time (or, in winter, what I can get out of store).

    I want to find out if the hungry gap is really as hungry as everyone says it is: whether you're really eating nothing but cabbage all winter; and whether you miss strawberries in December.

    Along the way I hope I'll save a few tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere on my behalf, as I won't be requiring those French beans flown from Chile, thanks very much. And I hope I'll be rediscovering what food can really taste like.

    If you have any comments, please feel free to post them anywhere you like - or you can email me at sallywhite@hotmail.com.

Jerusalem fartichokes

Domestic goddess rating: 10% (yep, working late again) Five-a-day: 3/5 Food miles: about 40

On the menu: Toast, jam & juice (breakfast); cheese sandwich (lunch); curry & rice (supper)

One vegetable which is in season at this time of year I’m afraid I won’t be trying. We had a bad experience with Jerusalem artichokes a few years back. We cooked them up in a soup, and it tasted great, that wasn’t the problem – but we both woke up in the middle of the night with the screaming heebie jeebies. Now, we’re not given to having nightmares, so we put it down to the Jerusalem artichokes and haven’t touched them since. I also hear that they make you … ahem… botty cough quite a lot after eating them, so the general advice is not to eat them in company you don’t know very well indeed.

If you don’t mind a few pungent smells with your evening meal, they do make a really good replacement for potatoes (which are all from store at this time of year). They’re harvested much the same – the tubers are under the ground and you dig them up to eat them. They cook like spuds, too. Unlike potatoes, they’re perennial, so once you’ve planted them it’s a permanent crop. They’re really pretty, too – the plant is related to sunflowers so they’re extremely tall and have cheerful big yellow flowers. The only trouble you’ll have is getting rid of them; they regenerate from even little bits of tuber left in the ground, so once you’ve got them – you’ve got them for good.

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3 Responses

  1. We’re receiving Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes, as our farm calls them) with next week’s CSA shipment. I’ve never prepared them before; good to hear they make a nice potato substitute. We’ll watch out for the flatulence, too. Keep up the seasonal eating!

  2. good luck! let me know how you get on with them! (would be really interested to hear if you get the nightmares… go easy on the detail with any other side effects though…!)

  3. Very good and helpful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now 😉

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