I guess you’ve heard many people rave about not being able to beat the taste of home-grown fruit and veg, and I have to say that I agree, I love it!
There’s something about home-grown, though, that puts people off – sometimes it can be a bit, well, manky!
I get that the slugs, snails, bugs and dirt can be a bit off-putting, especially with organic veg. Supermarket veg comes into our homes so sterile, clean, and easy but also expensive and not so tasty or satisfying as growing and harvesting your own.
Here are my top tips for getting past the grotty part of growing your own veg.
Only pick what you’re prepared to prep when you get home, don’t pick so much that you won’t be able to use or store it the same day. Organic, homegrown veg and fruit often goes off quickly because it’s not covered in nasties!
Prep’ as soon as you get home; today, my main job was strawberries. I picked them, then immediately, as I walked into the house, I soaked them in a bowl of cold, salted water for about an hour. After washing them off, I showered and rinsed them until the water ran clear.
I then removed the tops, chopped, labelled and froze them. We’ll be using this batch for porridge and smoothies.
The thing is, I’m ashamed to say, is that when we don’t prep it straight away, it is often wasted. Strawberries and raspberries in particular go bad very quickly and there’s nothing worse than rooting through fruit on the turn, looking for any good ones.
It’s also a good idea to remove any parts of the plant that you know you’re not going to eat when harvesting; I tend to leave rhubarb leaves, strip and trim salad and onions etc. whilst I’m still on the plot, chucking anything I don’t want to eat onto the compost heap and saving it the journey home.
We always have a compost caddy to hand in the kitchen when prepping our harvests for eating. I feel less guilty about trimming off the bits I don’t fancy, if I know it’s going to be returned to the allotment to make compost.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the realities of allotment harvesting!