OK… there are some strange vegetables out there in the vegeverse, like kohlrabi and celeriac, and I’ve met a few odd-looking parsnips in my time but this one really takes the biscuit. Or should that be stalk? Doug has been growing something over the past couple of years on his allotment that really is a bit weird and wonderful. The Victorians went mad for it – one gardening writer at the time declared that if you didn’t have enough space for both, it was better to grow this than asparagus because it tasted far superior – so much so that the plant almost died out altogether. You don’t tend to see much of it around now as it seems to have fallen out of favour. So what is it? Any guesses yet? A weird kind of celery…?
I’ll put you out of your vegetable misery. It’s sea kale. It’s white because Doug has been forcing it (under a bucket in our dark and gloomy hallway as the utility room proved to be too chilly for it). It grows naturally by the sea – surprise, surprise – and is a perennial. A bit like asparagus, you have to let it get established for a few years before you can start tucking in. We fried the stalks in a bit of butter and it was surprisingly tasty and sweet. It reminded me a bit of eating a globe artichoke though as it was a bit of a weird experience. If you’re interested in growing it, there’s some more information here on this interesting Victorian gardening website. Are you growing any strange or unusual fruit and veg this year? Or just something new? Leave a message and let me know