By Rubi Ingaglia
With the festive season approaching the thought of snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate sounds appealing, but the December garden has lots to offer. A cold stint in the allotment won’t seem so painful compared to the tasting of fresh, organic ingredients that will compliment your Christmas roast delightfully.
Here are my favourite crops and growing tips.
|After leaving parsnips to sweeten after frost, it is time to lift their roots in anticipation of your Christmas dinner. For those with a sweet tooth, drizzle with honey and roast, or try coating them in parmesan cheese before roasting for a crispy, savoury alternative.|
|Red cabbage is a popular Christmas meal addition, which, along with hearted white varieties, should be cut before the frost. It can be easily prepared in advance, and try adding apples, sultanas, brown sugar and butter when cooking for a gorgeously caramelised dish.|
|Brussels Sprouts are perfectly timed for the festive season as they can be harvested as early as mid September, but they can taste better after a frost. To entice those who are perhaps not Brussels sprouts enthusiasts, add bacon or almonds for extra flavour and crunch.|
|Seed Sprouts can be sown indoors and harvested all year round. These nutritious fillings are a great addition to those Boxing Day leftover sandwiches.|
Also on my menu
|If you’re looking to start your post-Christmas diet early, after being planted in summer, celery and lettuce is ready to be harvested and make crunchy, fresh, low calorie snacks.|
|December is the time for planting your gooseberries, pears and rhubarb, but make sure you choose well-drained soil. For summer and autumn harvesting, these fruits will be ideal for scrumptious fillings of those homemade pies.|
|As for the herbs, it’s time to pick the leaves of sage, rosemary and thyme. For your plate of Christmas veg, add fresh rosemary to your roasted root vegetables to perfect your plate alongside butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. Use sage for a traditional stuffing, or for a refreshing twist add thyme and lemon instead.|
Rubi is a Christmas enthusiast and volunteer at Garden Organic. She’s looking forward to “food and festivities” this December!
Garden Organic’s growing resources
Adopt a Veg – send a festive Christmas present