• 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.

Dried toffee apples

Domestic goddess rating: 0% (lovely sunny afternoon being entertained by a real domestic goddess – aka my old and much-loved friend C) Five-a-day: 4/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: toast, marmalade and juice (breakfast); lasagne and salad (lunch – thanks C); cobbled-together leftovers on late return home (supper)

I had a brainwave that might just solve the fruit shortage problem. What about dried fruit? After all that’s how they would have preserved fruit to keep you going over the winter pre-multinational global conglomerates.

The conversation with Princess the Younger went something like this:

me: You know those dried apricots we sometimes get from the shops? And raisins?

Princess the Younger: [looking at me suspiciously] Yeee-eess?

me: What about eating those instead of apples?

PtY: [now with horrified expression on face] Yeeuch!

me: Well, you can get dried apples too, you know.

PtY: Dried apples?

me: Yes, they’re just like real apples only they’re dried [particularly intellectual and persuasive argument there, I thought.]

PtY: But why?

me: umm… so that you can eat them when real apples aren’t growing.

PtY: What do they taste like?

me: Well – just like real apples, really. Only a bit chewy.

PtY: [habitual suspicious expression returning] Chewy?

me: Yes. A bit like toffee.

PtY: They taste like toffee?

me: [now lying through my teeth in desperate attempt to win upper hand] Yes!

PtY: OK, let’s get some!

So – now all I have to do is find some dried apples, and the princess will have her cravings satisfied. I just have to hope she’ll realise she likes them before it occurs to her that there is absolutely no relationship whatsoever between dried apples and toffees.

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