We all love a traditional Christmas feast. But it can often be fun to branch out and try something a little different. So in this article we’ll discuss some unusual vegetables you might like to try for your Christmas dinner this year.
Growing your own means that you can have access to vegetable crops that are not commonly found in supermarkets or other shops. Consider growing them next year to ring the changes. And enjoy alternatives to the Christmas dinner staples. All the options below are things that you could potentially grow in your garden next year.
Unusual Alternatives To Potatoes
First of all, let’s take a look at starchy alternatives to potatoes. Potatoes are, of course, a common garden crop. They are commonly eaten roasted for Christmas dinner, and are sometimes also mashed or used in many other ways. You can easily grow your own potatoes, and ring the changes by growing some more unusual varietals.
But if you would like to try something different, there are other tubers to consider.
For example, you might be able to grow:
You can find out more about these and other unusual tubers in my article here.
Unusual Vegetables That Are Alternatives To Carrots and Parsnips
Many of us will also typically enjoy root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips with our Christmas dinner. We may often enjoy them glazed with honey and roasted in the oven. These too are crops that are relatively easy to grow at home. Carrots come in a huge range of colours, shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of interesting heritage varieties to try.
But should you prefer to try something different, there are some more unusual root crops to consider.
For example, you could try Spanish or Black radishes, which are delicious roasted in honey just as carrots and parsnips are.
Another option is salsify. Salsify is a root crop once common in kitchen gardens. But it has fallen largely out of favour in recent years. It is a member of the dandelion family and its root is similar in appearance to a long, thin parsnip with creamy white flesh.
Or you could consider parsley root. Root parsley is related to the parsley commonly used as a herb, but forms roots like a parsnip. The roots do have a slight parsley taste, but also a flavour of celeriac, carrot or parnsip.
Unusual Alternatives To Cabbage/ Brussels Sprouts
Perhaps the vegetable most associated with Christmas dinner is the Brussels sprout. Love them or loath them, they are a traditional seasonal vegetable that works very well with the traditional ingredients of the yuletide meal. Many people enjoy Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner, and cabbage is also commonly eaten at this time of the year.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in other members of the same plant family. Other brassicas gaining favour on the Christmas table include kohlrabi, broccoli-raab and, perhaps most of all due to its photogenic appearance – Romanesco. This is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower in flavour, and has an amazing fractal form that almost makes it look like mini Christmas trees.
Of course, there are a great many other brassicas and other leafy greens that you could grow for your Christmas dinner. For example:
Wa wa ga choi
Good King Henry
You could also consider growing perennial brassicas, which will feed you not just for Christmas, but potentially over a number of years.
There are no rules when it comes to your Christmas dinner. You can be as traditional or unconventional as you want to be. Some will enjoy the traditional turkey or nut roast, others may enjoy something completely different. One thing is certain – if you grow the food yourself, it will always taste so much better!
If you grow your own, especially if you branch out beyond the most basic and traditional of crops, then your Christmas fare can be better and more beautiful than ever. If you choose some of the more unusual vegetables above, you can keep everyone guessing about what is on their plates.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.