The title of this blog post sums up most of my vegetable harvests so far this year. With not much on the menu to start with – mostly potatoes, onions and garlic, the yields have been spectacularly small and poor.
But putting my positive hat on, I can vouch that my homegrown veg might be a disappointment in the size department, but not so in terms of taste – everything I’ve eaten so far is packed full with flavour. The Cristo garlic may not have swelled to gargantuan proportions as it has done in previous years, but just two small cloves of my homegrown garlic have literally transformed my cooking. The depth of flavour is second to none, and I have never come across the same in shop-bought fare.
I once made the heinous mistake of buying organic garlic from Tesco without reading the label… only to find that it had been shipped all the way from China. The garlic itself was bland, bland, bland, so there was no consolation for my purchase. So although my garlic harvest will likely only sustain us for a few weeks at best (we must use at least one bulb a week), for that short time, I shall be able to revel in the almost-indescribable deep, multi-toned, fragrant richness that comes from my own homegrown yield.
The onions – well, they’re rather pathetic, if I’m honest. It’s my own fault – I barely prepared the soil, bunged in slightly soft onion sets and hoped for the best…. and was promptly met with a miserable start to Spring, and a sustained heatwave where our soil turned to sand. Must do better.
The potatoes have been a mixed bag – yes, they’re small, but boy are they good. The Picasso in particular have peaked my interest, as they’ve somehow evaded the perpetual blight (no, not that kind of blight) of scab that I had resigned myself to facing each year, on account of our sandy soil. But no, the Picasso have proven me wrong and emerged from the earth as modest-sized hunks of cream and pink, a little rough around the edges but generally no worse for wear. That’s a success in my book. Their flavour is outstanding, and as a roastie/mash spud, they’re up there with Maris Pipers, Desiree and Roosters. I’ve even go as far as to say that they might actually oust our perennial favourite, the Maris Piper, as my favourite roastie spud… the creaminess of Picasso is out of this world, and if you haven’t given them a go, then they come highly recommended from me!
The Majestic potatoes were not so lucky and seem to have succumbed to scab – but a cursory scrub and peel, and they’re good to go.
The raspberries are finally beginning to ripen, and the plan is to scrump a few apples from the windfall from our neighbour, or just ask around generally if anyone has any cooking apples spare, and put together a nice apple and raspberry strudel, or crumble. As a gardener, Mum is often handed bags of cooking apples from clients, who are desperate to give away surplus, so I imagine we’ll have a fair few coming our way within the next few weeks. Cooked apples are one of my favourite foods ever ever ever. In fact, we’re thinking of getting a couple of cooking apple trees in to replace the ancient Victoria Plum – last year or the year before, it gave up the ghost after about 90 years.