Garlic, gooseberries and oca!

When sowing our garlic in January, I had bought bulbs in of named varieties and I also took some bulbs from the kitchen store to see if there would be any difference between them. In Autumn, we sow the garlic following the french tradition of sowing on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest. The kitchen bulbs were ready soonest, as the top growth had started dying back. What I harvested was small with only a few cloves per bulb. The named varieties bought in especially for growing are still in full growth so will be harvested in a couple of weeks and looking at the strength of the growth I expect larger bulbs with more cloves!

The fruit on our gooseberries is fully formed but still unripe. We thin the fruit so that what is left ripens quicker and grows bigger, more quality and less quantity. The thinnings however are useful for the kitchen to cook with, as whilst they are hard and tart raw, our Head Chef George can work his magic and bring out the flavour in them.

Oca is a tuber which we dig in the autumn and early winter. It has a citrus flavour and looks a little like a ratte potato. Like potatoes, by earthing them up we get more, bigger tubers to harvest.

Helena.

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