The Roots are Ready

Oct 21st 2016. We have started using the parsnips although they are a crop that is meant to be better after the first frosts. We have grown lots and as we may not have much frost, it’s time to make a start. They produced masses of leaves so we were not sure whether to expect enormous roots or nothing much. They are somewhere in between and will keep us going for most of the winter. I like to part steam them before roasting them in the oven. Roasting without steaming always produces a drier vegetable. They will also be used in soups, stews and casseroles and are a great standby to have in the fridge.

We had no intention of growing carrots this year as the crop always seems to get eaten by carrot fly even though we cover it with fleece. However, my husband found a packet of seed when going through the seed box and decided to put them in rather late in the season. And as you can see from the picture it was a success. The carrots are not very large but are sweet and delicious and with no sign of being ravaged by the carrot fly whose season was passed when the seeds were planted. We learn something new every year and this is one trick we will remember. It may not work if the weather is poor as the carrots won’t have time to grow sufficiently but it’s always worth a gamble.

We are also picking baby beetroot. We didn’t quite get our successional planting organised this year so we have had a gap in production. I did however plant some seed in the back garden to use as leaves in salad. These were then planted up at the allotment when the plants started to get too big. It was late in the season when they went in but like the carrots they have fared well and are now ready to pick. I love beetroot as they produce fabulous greenery which can be eaten as a vegetable. I like to chop and steam the leaves then toss in a little butter or oil and season with salt and pepper. It’s one of my favourite vegetables. I also like to grate raw beetroot and toss in a dressing to eat with salads as well as serving it roasted or boiled. So versatile and so good for you.