Last year’s turnip harvest was, to be frank, pathetic. Despite being one of the easiest veg to grow, our allotment yielded just one golf ball sized root so withered and gnarled that it went straight to the mountain of weeds we call ‘the compost heap’.
This year we demanded better, so a dense sprinkling of seeds were sown on one of the more pristine strips of plot. And what a contrast – we’ve been marvelling at a thick wedge of healthy green leaves, fighting for space so their roots can swell into the promised peppery pink globes.
This weekend it was time to get down on my knees and thin this handsome green plumage. But rather than send the handfuls of pulled thinnings in the same direction as last year’s ‘harvest’, these tiny turnips went to the kitchen. Turnip leaves are an often overlooked edible veg and the young plants have a particularly fresh and mild peppery taste, with my preference for their service being gently cooked with bacon and a splash of vinegar.
There’s no guarantee that this year’s turnips will better its predecessor, but at least we’ve squeezed a few meals out of them already.
Seeds sown: Turnip ‘Atlantic’, Suttons