• 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.

Fruity fantasies

Domestic goddess rating: 50% (didn’t cook much but froze in swimming pool for an hour and a half so goddess qualities still intact) Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: porridge and juice (fortifying breakfast for day spent writing against crazy deadline); cornish pasty (lunch at desk); baked potatoes, salad from the garden, and ham (supper)

On the whole I’ve been finding this seasonal eating malarky a breeze. You get to eat all sorts of interesting things, cooking has never been so much fun, and every meal is a surprise discovery.

The only sticking point so far has been fruit. What do you do when there are no apples, no pears, and not even a berry to sink your teeth into? Rhubarb is delicious, admittedly, but a) you can’t munch on a stick of rhubarb on getting home from school and b) it takes a 15-minute drive to the farm shop to find any that’s not from Holland.

Princess the Younger, who is a bit of a fruit bat, has been howling for apples for weeks now. Can you believe it – I’ve been refusing healthy snacks to a five-year-old. It’s the only thing we’ve really, really missed. And I mean really missed. Whatever are we going to do until August?

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4 Responses

  1. 🙂

    Good read! Thank you!

  2. Are English grown apples from the shops allowed? Jazz Apples are finally being grown in this country (it was original New Zealand, then France got in on it). Plus coxes are around too I believe.

  3. Trouble is the ones that are labelled “English” in the shops at the moment have been in store for at least 6 months. That generally speaking means a) they’ve lost much of their flavour and b) they’ve been treated with god knows what chemicals to make them last that long.

    Home-grown apples in store only last till about the end of January, maybe beginning of February if you’re very lucky – I’ve read several quite respected foodies saying they wouldn’t ever eat an apple after the beginning of March, for the reasons above. So much the worse for me (and little Princess) I suppose. I wish I wasn’t such a purist sometimes!

  4. True, the English apples I do have downstairs aren’t as crunchy and sharp as they should be. It’s a shame they don’t specify when fruit or vegetables have been picked/packed as well as their origin. A bit like budweiser that says when it was bottled as well as a best before. Typically the least likely thing has got it right!

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