Thursday 29 December 2011

Christmas harvests

There is not much for me to harvest from the garden just now, but I do try hard to ensure that there is always something available.

On Christmas Eve I harvested a batch of Parsnips, which were duly roasted and served with our turkey on Christmas Day. It was much easier digging them up than it was doing the same task last year. In December 2010 we had a very cold spell and the soil was frozen hard. This year I was able to pull up the parsnips easily by hand, without even having to use the garden fork.

In the basket with the parsnips here is a bunch of leaves from the Hamburg Parsley. Jane used these in the stuffing for the turkey.

Apart from a few salad greens, my only other harvest during the week was this rather pathetic red cabbage.

It had been growing at a snail's pace for months, and I didn't think it would get significantly bigger. Just in case you are under any illusions about HOW small it was, let me show it to you placed next to a Walnut!

See? Small!

This year I only found room to plant three red cabbages. One was OK (harvested 13th Oct), then there was the one I've just described, but the third one (next photo) has steadfastly refused to produce any heart at all and will probably be discarded soon.

Raggedy old leaves and no discernible heart at all.

This variety is "Marner Langerrot", and I'm not impressed with it. Last year it was also disappointing, if not quite so poor. Next year I will be trying a different variety.

Anyway, even a small Red Cabbage gives you an opportunity for an interesting and colourful salad. Here it is shredded (raw) and combined with grated raw carrots and some toasted Pecan nuts. This salad scores well on colour, texture and taste. We served it as an accompaniment to Turkey and Leek risotto, with a dressing made with Walnut oil and Cassis (blackcurrant) vinegar.

In close-up the colour contrasts are even more striking!


  1. We only ended up with parsnips from the allotment with our Christmas dinner, I was also hoping for sprouts but they weren't much good so I had to buy them in. The red cabbage salad looks very striking.

  2. I thought what's wrong with that red cabbage? Then I saw it next to the walnut mmm!

  3. How nice, Mark, to harvest something for your Christmas dinner. Your parsnips look great. The cabbage and carrot salad looked so colorful and inviting. Wishing you and Jane a very Happy New Year!

  4. There's such a thing as cassis still my heart! Well of course, why wouldn't there be? Bet it tastes delicious.

  5. Your parsnips look lovely! That salad looks great and the dressing sounds wonderful. At least you got a meal out the cabbage- for you and for whatever made those holes in its side...

  6. I can't believe you pulled up those parsnips so easily in December in England!!! That's definite proof of global warming... x ps. those colours are so zingy!!!

  7. Oooh your coleslaw is stunning! It's been so mild hasn't it? We're still eating the cut and come again lettuce I planted in August. Next year, along with my Asian veg (thank you) I will be planting more winter crops. I fancy leeks and a cauliflower methinks. Happy New Year!

  8. Very nice parsnips and your slaw salad looks quite good too. We often struggle to get large heads of red cabbage as well regardless of what variety is grown.

  9. Out of six red cabbage planted I only got one decent head, one or two didn't form at all and when I braised the only decent one it wasn't a particularly nice colour - I wanted it to be ruby and it turned out pale purple. If I decide to grow it again next year then a different variety is definitely on the cards.

  10. Nice fresh harvest for Christmas meal.

  11. Looks very good Mark, how wonderful to get something at this time of year. I need to peek under the low hoop and see if I have any chard for tomorrow. Then again there may be nothing left.


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