Wednesday 9 December 2015

December on the Allotment: wonky parsnips

Way back in March I had this idea that I wanted to eat homegrown parsnips on Christmas Day. In the world of allotments you have to plan what you want to eat months before you actually get to eat a certain vegetable. I visited a local plant nursery and bought myself some parsnip seedlings. I didn't expect these tiny plants to grow into these incredibly wonky parsnips...

our first crop of allotment grown, wonky parsnips

I planted them out in a raised bed in March. They looked so tiny, that I thought the slugs and snails would devour them overnight. As a precaution, I covered the surrounding soil with broken egg shells to deter the munching molluscs. Apart from watering them, they have just been left to get on with it. Nine months later and they are still there, uneaten by the bugs. So on Saturday we made a trip to the allotment to harvest them with Magoo.

December, Allotment, wonky parsnips, parsnips, root vegetables, growing, muddy, plot

Now I know people who are experts at growing vegetables will be horrified by my curly parsnips. On reflection, I think they should not have been grown in a raised bed. We didn't prepare the soil very well in our raised beds this year. I know that when root veg hit something hard like a stone, they grow away from it and end up twisted.

enjoying harvesting our first crop of parsnips from the allotment raised beds

A few weeks ago I was watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War on Waste. They highlighted the mountains of vegetables rejected by supermarkets because they aren't 'perfect'. In particular, they visited a farmer who grew parsnips. This particular Norfolk farm had to bin 20 tonnes of freshly dug parsnips because they were deemed 'wonky'.

I think if a supermarket buyer saw my parsnips, they would pass out. We've all been trained by the supermarkets to expect our veg to be free from mud and perfectly formed. Some of the things we grow on our allotment are pretty odd looking, but shouldn't it be more about what things taste like?

harvesting our wonky parsnips from the allotment in december

I haven't been put off growing parsnips. In fact, I will definitely be planting more next March. This time we will dig a deeper trench in the main beds of the allotment. This will give the parsnips a chance to grow bigger. I'm not bothered about the shape of them, but it would be nice to have some larger ones.

Having said all that, I am proud of my first crop of parsnips. We roasted them last Sunday and ate them with some slow cooked beef. And do you know what? They tasted bloomin' delicious.

harvesting our wonky parsnips from the allotment in time from Christmas dinner

This week I am linking up with these lovely blogs:

Whatever the weather hosted by and

Country Kids over on the lovely Coombe Mill blog

Let Kids Be Kids over on

How Does Your Garden Grow? over on

Mammsaurus HDYGG


Unknown said...

growing anything for me is such a happy and rewarding feeling. yay parsnips!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy those in all their curly glory!

We had a similar experience with the carrots in our raised beds. The year after we dug it all over really deep and they were all ok the next year. They are perfectly yummy though and like you say so much food is wasted because things don't look 'perfect'.
Thanks for joining in again :)

Next week is the Christmas tree edition! x

Chickenruby said...

I bet they taste better than the supermarket ones, wonky or not, in South Africa the fruit and veg in the supermarkets was just 'as it grew' however the 'posher' ones such as Woolworths, think M&S only had 'perfect' ones

Coombe Mill - Fiona said...

As an ex buyer for Tesco in produce I'm well aware of the silly rules on vegetable specification, i love your curly parsnips. when I'm shopping I always go for value veg,it is only value because it is misshapen which isn't something I mind. Love the photo of Magoo helping you on the allotment and I hope you all enjoy your wonderful parsnips.

Unknown said...

I love your curly parsnips. They're so cute. You can't beat the taste of home grown veg and I think the shape gives it character. What a shame so much food gets wasted because of its shape. We're planning our little vegetable patch this year (your posts on your allotment have really inspired me) and all the things we want to grow. It is crazy just how far in advance you need to plant things, but I think it'll be so much fun to see how they grow. Your roast sounds delicious! Thank you so much for linking to #whatevertheweather xx

Unknown said...

I completely agree, it's all about the taste not the shape! I have grown similar shaped carrots and parsnips before and although a little more difficult to prepare they still tasted delicious. I wish the supermarkets would take heed that customers are happy to buy wonky vegetables, saves it all being wasted and thrown away. You're doing a fantastic job with your allotment, can't wait to get planting again next year! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

Unknown said...

Well done with the parsnips. They are very wonky, but it really doesn't matter what shape they are, it's all in the eating and I bet they tasted great.
Thanks for sharing #LetKidsBeKids

Stephanie 139a said...

LOL your comment about the supermarket people seeing your parsnips made me snort just a little - they have done such a good job of training us against ugly veg when in fact we should be most bothered about what it tastes like. And some character is perfectly fine #hdygg

Amanda said...

These look brilliant, well done!
Such a darn shame that they would be binned for no reason other than appearances, as consumers we are so silly and wasteful

Erin Vincent said...

I think your parsnips are beautiful...they would be extremely fun to paint faces onto... That's the artist in me talking, though!

Me, You and Magoo said...

Thank you for all your lovely comments...I'm glad you can see past the wonkiness & appreciate the fact that homegrown veg is more about taste than looks (good job!)
I will definitely be growing some more next year, but I will prepare the soil better this time. They were so tasty, it would be nice to have some larger ones & I think the soil needs to be dug deeply to achieve that :)

Jibberjabberuk said...

We've just got our allotment but my husband's plan is to grow our Christmas dinner for next year. Wonky veg is the best veg!


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