Josine Atsma takes a look at seasonal January fruit and veg in Scotland, which include Brussels sprouts, curly kale, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, cabbages (red, white, pointed), purple sprouting broccoli, celeriac, turnips, swedes, apples and pears.

 
I live in Stirling, on high ground. November was pretty cold, but December was really quite mild apart from a handful of days, including Boxing Day when we had snow. Sometimes living 740ft above sea level has its perks! Let’s see how this month pans out and how we do for January fruit and veg. So far we’ve had a bit of everything, cold, decent amounts of snow, and then back to the mild temperatures again. It has been windy of late, which this month’s star vegetable doesn’t like that much.

January fruit and veg in Stirling

Snowy Stirling

 

In this post I am going to highlight Brussels sprouts, which are one of the more exciting January fruit and veg, but a fairly tricky vegetable to grow.

If you can give Brussels sprouts the right growing conditions, they will reward you with tasty buttons come Christmas, but they need a long growing season, plenty of fertiliser and a sheltered, sunny spot.

I have grown Brussels sprouts in previous years, but have given up, because I just can’t give them a sheltered spot, meaning all the buttons open up and that makes them a nightmare to clean!

Brussels sprouts form little cabbages on the side of their stalk and a big, open sprout at the top, which is also edible.

Growing brussels sprout plants

Growing Brussels sprouts

 

Brussels sprouts are a great winter vegetable, because again, like parsnips that we discussed in a previous post, the flavour improves after the first frost.

Just earth them up or stake them and you can harvest (and buy) Brussels sprouts right up until March!

I’ve pretty much harvested all my ‘fresh’ vegetables and the vegetable plot now lies empty. But I will start sowing again this month. January and February is the time to start sowing chili peppers, tomatoes and aubergines. Indoors of course, because they need heat to germinate, but also a long growing season if you want them to ripen.

Available ‘fresh’ January fruit and veg are: curly kale, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, cabbages (red, white, pointed), purple sprouting broccoli, celeriac, turnips, swedes, apples and pears.

Vegetables which store well and therefore don’t need to be imported are: onions, potatoes, garlic and pumpkins.

January fruit and veg recipe

Pizza with Brussels sprouts and bacon/smoked tofu

brussels sprouts pizza january fruit and veg

Brussels sprout pizza, yummy!

Ingredients:

350g brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
4 pizza bases
125g creme fraiche
2tsp ground nutmeg
2 large onions, cut in half and sliced
200g bacon pieces or you could use smoked tofu in cubes
Drizzle of olive oil
 

Instructions:

Boil the Brussels sprouts for about 5 minutes.
Mix together the creme fraiche, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Spread the pizza bases with the creme fraiche mixture and add the Brussels sprouts, onion slices and bacon or tofu.
Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top.
Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15 minutes or until the pizza is hot and the base has browned.

What a brilliant way to get children to like Brussels sprouts!

 

Fun fact

Unlike Jerusalem artichokes (which aren’t from Jerusalem at all, but from North America), Brussels sprouts really do come from Belgium, where a cabbage plant spontaneously started producing little cabbages instead of one big head.