We eat with our eyes right? I love the idea that my vegetable garden is a feast for the palette as well as the taste buds. So like a big kid in a sweet shop, I look at the packets of seeds on offer and I’m tempted by names, the stories behind the varieties and yes, the colours.
And of course if you are growing your own vegetables you get to choose what you want to grow and eat, varieties that aren’t seen in the shops, stuff that looks a little different, but tastes fantastic.
Lets take one example, orange carrots. What’s wrong with orange carrots? Nothing, but originally they were either yellow or red. Orange coloured carrots made their appearance in the Netherlands in the 17th century. So address your letter of complain to the Dutch.
So consumer expectations now dictate that carrots are orange, we expect it, or beetroot to be a deep red/burgundy colour. What beetroot in different colours? Yes those too! A lot of variations have been bred out by seed companies, the shops want uniformity. Dull, dull, dull !
It does initially throw people off-balance when they see vegetables a different colour to the norm, especially kids; but guess what, they taste like vegetables should! A homegrown carrot is a tasty thing, whatever it’s colour. But isn’t it fun to play with your food? You bet! It’s fun to change and challenge, oh and to play…..
Some of the colourful varieties I grow ~
- Beetroot – white, pink, golden ~ Albino, di Choggia, Burpees Golden
- Radish – yellows, reds, whites, oranges ~ Mooli, Black Spanish Round, Hilds Blauer Herbst Und Winter
- Cauliflower – purple and orange ~ Cauliflower Cheddar and Purple Sicily
- Potatoes – Salad Blue, Red Duke of York
- Brussel sprouts – purple ~ Falstaff
- Carrots – yellow, white, purple, reds – Yellowstone, Purple Haze
- Peas – purple ~Robinson’s Purple Podded, Carruthers’ Purple Podded
- Pak Choy – Red
- Climbing French Beans – yellow, purple – Cherokee Trail of Tears, Sweet Australian Purple
- Climbing Shelling Beans – like Major Cooke or Borlotti
- Chard – Red, Yellow ~ Ruby, Bright Lights, Yellow
- Courgettes – they don’t have to be green. Yellow, pale green/white, dark green/black – Cavili, Jemmer are 2 of my favourites to grow and eat
- Tomatoes – yellow cherries and then start thinking Blue, like Blue OSU, and for next year I’ve been eyeing up green and striped tomatoes.
- Chillies – from reds and greens to yellows and purples like Pretty In Purple
- Pumpkins and Squash – every hue including orange 🙂
Some of these varieties are centuries old, so why not turn the clocks back a little?
And as the seed catalogues arrive and the winter evenings are drawing in, I get to drool over pictures of scrumptious looking vegetables, and start to dream of next year’s colourful bounty.