We’ve all had it drilled into us that we should cook and eat local but there’s another side to that that is less obvious – that means that we should cook and eat seasonally. If you are in the UK like us there are going to be a very limited selection of fruits and veg available throughout the year. There are ways to get around this but it’s a different way of thinking than we are used to. The problem is that cook books and recipes are not usually setup for this but are designed for supermarket shoppers who can have food shipped in from a long distance.
Cook your own Veg is a book written by Carol Klein that addresses this problem. Klein is a Chelsea Garden show Gold winner five times over but will probably be best known as a presenter of Gardeners World on the BBC and for her writing in the Telegraph. The book is designed to give a good overview of the entire process from bare garden to plate in a practical and realistic way.
The book covers a very basic introduction to gardening and then devotes pages to the best general way to harvest both with an eye to lengthening the harvesting season and with getting the best food. It then takes you through the year season by season and looks at the plants that can be harvested then. To take spring as an example Klein explains how best to grow, care for and harvest asparagus and then suggests a number of simple recipes that use it.
If you are a gardener you’ll find the book interesting for its perspective following the whole way through the growing and eating process on a chronological basis. I’m not much of a gardener and I found Cook Your Own Veg interesting as it let me know when the local Veg would be available and how best to cook it.
The book was published in 2007 and was very popular selling over 200,000 copies. It is currently out of print but available second hand on Amazon for £2.28. At that price if you’re interested in growing your own veg or just cooking local seasonal food its a great place to start.