Winter Harvests

On Christmas Day, we dug up the first of this winter’s parsnips.

Christmas Day parsnip harvest

They were mighty roots, much larger than we’d expected – how deceptive their slender foliage can be! – and we roasted only two of the smaller ones to accompany our Christmas lunch. The remainder have since made a hearty curried parsnip soup which keeps us warm on these grey January days, while half a dozen remain in the ground for the weeks to come.

Curried parsnip soup

My sister and I also picked a bowl of small Brussels sprouts on Christmas morning, leaving the plants in place; a flourish of greenery standing atop bare knobbled stalks. Several days later, we harvested the small tender leaves from the growing tips for a fine dish of ‘bubble and squeak’, and finally composted the stems.

Our cauliflowers are still growing, hopefully forming sweet white curds, and the savoy cabbages slumber on in their bed, while I have been picking leaves from the kales this week; green curly kale, red curly kale and Cavolo nero. They make a beautiful bunch…

Homegrown kale selection

… and a fine meal, accompanied by some of our stored red onions, garlic and shallots harvested from the garden at the end of the summer.

These are modest crops, yet as we await our seed orders for the growing season ahead, there is something deeply satisfying about continuing to enjoy the results of last year’s plantings.

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14 thoughts on “Winter Harvests

  1. This will be the year that I get my act together to produce parsnips for Christmas! Ask me how I’ve done in twelve months time please Sara and any tips for sowing/growing are most welcome.The growing tips of sprouts are packed with taste so that bubble and squeak must have been rather delicious :)

    • Good luck, Anna! The only tips I have are of starting the seeds off in damp tissue, as detailed in this post: http://hillwards.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/roots-and-shoots/. Once they have germinated I gently flick them into drills in our heavy clay soil, filling in above them with compost to give them a fighting chance, and then trying to keep them relatively weed free. Otherwise they have to fend for themselves. Not all the shoots survive to maturity, but we get a fair crop each year so far!

  2. I remember you grew great parsnips last year too, you’re going to have to share your secret! My soil is not the right texture to grow them but I would like to try again.

    • Ah, thanks Christina, parsnips do seem to grow well for us. Unexpected in our clay; the carrots certainly struggle a little more, as I’d expect. No special secrets, just the germination tip I’ve mentioned to Anna above and posted about before.

  3. Yumm – all sounds lovely :) I can just about get away with giving the Golfer curried parsnip soup if I can avoid him knowing there are parsnips in it!!

  4. Ah yes, we had equally giant parsnips when we grew them for Christmas some years ago (not quite sure why I’ve never grown them since) it’s amazing what lies beneath the earth verses the tops. Great to have so much to nibble on over the cold months though, we only have kale and chard this year…oh and horseradish root. Bx

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