Over the winter few crops are in active growth – but that does not mean that home growers are left without anything to eat. If you have planned well over the previous year, you should still be able to eat vegetables from storage, as well as picking some crops from your polytunnel. At this time of year, root vegetables from store are staples of a home grown diet.
Potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips and other root vegetables will still be fine if they have been stored correctly. But these vegetables may not be quite as versatile for use in the kitchen as they were when plucked straight from the ground. Though tougher and somewhat less appetising if cooked plainly, stored vegetables can still be delicious additions to a range of recipes. Here are a few ideas to help you use up root vegetables kept in storage over the winter:
Tougher, older root vegetables from storage are perfect for making a range of soups and stews. Slow cooked soups and stews can be made from whichever vegetables you still have to hand and are versatile enough to provide variety and comfort food during the coldest months. Make a simple vegetable stock with stored root vegetables and onions that can be used as a base for a range of recipes.
Root vegetables can be more than a base for meals. Sometimes, they can be the stars of the show. Simply roasting your root vegetables with olive oil and salt, herbs or honey can be one of the most delicious ways to enjoy your stored produce.
Curries come in all sorts of varieties, inspired by cuisines from all over the world. Vegetables that may be past their absolute best can still taste great when combined with hot, spicy flavours in a range of curries. Try a dry potato curry, or a vegetable and lentil daal, for example.
Pastry or potato topped pies can also be excellent additions to your winter diet and offer yet more delicious ways to use up stored root vegetables and other home grown produce. Serve with a sumptuous onion gravy for a mid-winter treat.
Talking of mid-winter treats, root vegetables can come in handy for sweet treats too. Stored vegetables may be more associated with savoury winter warmer recipes, but they can also be used to make a wide range of cakes. Carrots and beetroot are both common ingredients in cakes, and can make your confectionery especially moist and delicious.