Eating seasonally: Getting to the root (vegetables) of Christmas

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Christmas is a very busy time of year at Mr Pickles.
Not least because we’re organising lots of orders for some of the tastiest turkey, goose, beef, pork and duck available in Yorkshire, but we’ve been sourcing the region’s very best in food and drink gifts and wrapping up lots of gorgeous bespoke hampers. All this in addition to keeping the shop stocked with all the everyday essentials like milk, bread and fresh veg.
And you’d be forgiven if you mistakenly thought our vegetable display might be looking a little sparse at the moment, as it’s as full as ever. Certainly the onset of cold weather does take its toll on a lot of the delicate varieties, but there are plenty of hardier vegetables. Cabbages, leeks and cauliflowers will push on through winter, as will a certain Christmas delicacy, the Brussels sprout.
But winter is a time for the root vegetable and we have celeriac, beetroot, swede and turnips in abundance. Of course, some are more popular than others and we’d have to say the parsnip is our favourite as it positively thrives in December. Although underground and tucked away from extreme weather, it likes a good frost. Once the soil cools, the starches turn to sugar leaving a lovely sweet note.
Which is why we struggle to understand the love of the parsnip is something of a British phenomenon. Despite this fine root being a top choice for a classic purée, the French don’t even know what the parsnip is, let alone bother eating it. And given its versatility we can’t help but think this is a shame. Whether boiled and mashed, blitzed into a soup, grated raw into a hearty salad, or cooked in a creamy gratin, the parsnip is the perfect addition to any wintry meal.
We especially enjoy roasted parsnips. Just peel, top and tail and chop into quarters before tossing in a little rapeseed with salt and pepper, roasting at 200C for 30 - 50 minutes. Once they’ve turned golden and slightly caramelised, they’re ready.
Although delicious simply roasted, adding a few warming spices such as chilli flakes, cumin, coriander seeds and turmeric takes them to another level. We’ve also started adding some of our rainbow carrots as we can’t resist the gorgeous splash of colour. They’ll look great on the Christmas dinner table, but we especially like to serve our spicy parsnips with hot chutney, dollop of yogurt, a little salad and a warm flatbread or in a warm puy lentil salad with chicken, steamed greens and lemon juice. Whatever your favourite vegetable is at this time of year, why not pop into the store on Abbeydale Road to see what we have to offer your Christmas table.

Not least because we’re organising lots of orders for some of the tastiest turkey, goose, beef, pork and duck available in Yorkshire, but we’ve been sourcing the region’s very best in food and drink gifts and wrapping up lots of gorgeous bespoke hampers. All this in addition to keeping the shop stocked with all the everyday essentials like milk, bread and fresh veg.

And you’d be forgiven if you mistakenly thought our vegetable display might be looking a little sparse at the moment, as it’s as full as ever.

Certainly the onset of cold weather does take its toll on a lot of the delicate varieties, but there are plenty of hardier vegetables. Cabbages, leeks and cauliflowers will push on through winter, as will a certain Christmas delicacy, the Brussels sprout.

But winter is a time for the root vegetable and we have celeriac, beetroot, swede and turnips in abundance. Of course, some are more popular than others and we’d have to say the parsnip is our favourite as it positively thrives in December. Although underground and tucked away from extreme weather, it likes a good frost. Once the soil cools, the starches turn to sugar leaving a lovely sweet note.

Which is why we struggle to understand the love of the parsnip is something of a British phenomenon. Despite this fine root being a top choice for a classic purée, the French don’t even know what the parsnip is, let alone bother eating it. And given its versatility we can’t help but think this is a shame. Whether boiled and mashed, blitzed into a soup, grated raw into a hearty salad, or cooked in a creamy gratin, the parsnip is the perfect addition to any wintry meal.

We especially enjoy roasted parsnips. Just peel, top and tail and chop into quarters before tossing in a little rapeseed with salt and pepper, roasting at 200C for 30-50 minutes. Once they’ve turned golden and slightly caramelised, they’re ready.

Although delicious simply roasted, adding a few warming spices such as chilli flakes, cumin, coriander seeds and turmeric takes them to another level. We’ve also started adding some of our rainbow carrots as we can’t resist the gorgeous splash of colour. They’ll look great on the Christmas dinner table, but we especially like to serve our spicy parsnips with hot chutney, dollop of yogurt, a little salad and a warm flatbread or in a warm puy lentil salad with chicken, steamed greens and lemon juice. Whatever your favourite vegetable is at this time of year, why not pop into the store on Abbeydale Road to see what we have to offer your Christmas table.