How Well Do You Know Your Christmas Veg? Here’s a few facts for you to share over the festive table.


1. Parsnips were used to sweeten cakes and jams long before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe.
2. They contain more vitamins and minerals than carrots, their more upmarket cousins.
3. Tricky to germinate, parsnips will take between 10 and 30 days to emerge.
4. To help with germination throw away any leftover seed and use fresh seed each year.
5. Frost converts starch to sugar so parsnips will always taste sweeter if you leave harvesting them until after a hard frost.

Brussels Sprouts

1. Sprouts developed from a wild cabbage grown in Afghanistan and Pakistan
2. Some cooks like to cut a cross in the bottom of each sprout to help speed up the cooking but another school of thought is that this is to let out the devil!
3. Sulphur causes the slightly bitter taste that some people love and others hate. This is a natural deterrent to grazing animals.
4. Sprouts are super healthy containing high levels of vitamins A and C, folic acid plus dietary fibre.
5. Sprouts don’t have to be green, the variety Red Rubine will add an extra special festive touch to any meal.

Red Cabbage

1. Red cabbages store well and kept cool will last for several months..
2. Dependant on the variety, red cabbages will be ready for harvesting from July until the first hard frost.
3. Whilst the flavour is similar to white cabbage it tends to be a little less sweet and earthier.
4. Red cabbage works extremely well in a winter coleslaw giving both colour and depth of flavour.


1. In Devon swede is traditionally sown on Midsummer’s Day.
2. Swedes are good keepers and will be fine for about a month if kept n the fridge.
3. Their high-water content makes swede unsuitable for roasting. A long gentle simmer will give better results.
4. Known by the Scots as “neeps” swedes are an essential part of a Burn’s Night Supper.
5. No genuine Cornish pasty would ever exclude tender cubs of swede.

These are the traditional Christmas veg but times and tastes change. What other veg will you be choosing to grace your festive table this year?


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