Christmas is a time of glittering tinsel, gleaming baubles, excitingly wrapped parcels, and mountains of delicious and tempting nibbles – all colour and excitement and even a hint of sparkle. It is a shame though, that our traditional Christmas vegetables tend to be a bit, well, boring, not to put too fine a point on it.
In the old days, before modernised travel and the global village, people tended to grow a lot of what they ate and buy the difference from neighbours or nearby farms and at Christmas time in cold weather, there was not a huge variety in the available vegetables.
Obviously they are mostly root vegetables; being in the nice warm earth tends to protect them from the worst frosts, they also tend to be durable and able to be stored for long periods of time without rotting or spoiling – like potatoes, parsnips, swede – all slightly dull vegetable-wise, but our ancestors were happy to have them! The ubiquitous Brussels sprout actually tastes a bit sweeter after a good hard frost, and this is perhaps why they came to be enjoyed particularly at Christmas time; adding a bit of greenery and a savoury tang to an otherwise fairly bland Christmas offering.
We tend to always have the same old vegetables because our parents and grandparents and their parents did, not always realising the immense wealth of vegetable discovery awaiting us! Modern growing farming and transportation methods mean that we can be happily tucking into veg grown hundreds of miles away in the sun within just a day or two of it being picked.
This opens up the possibilities of dishes that we can try out for a change and below are some examples of Christmas food ideas at Live Well for Less.
A Christmas salad made with juicy clementines, exotic avocados, watercress and smoked salmon could make a colourful and tasty change from the heavy and somewhat stodgy fare that is customarily on offer during the festive season. Delicious mushroom tartlets bursting with crème fraiche and beautifully offset with crispy puff pastry make a wonderful canapé for evening social events.
As a complement to any meal, but something to perhaps even try out with the main Christmas roast there are lovely garlicky roast carrots. Not only can the garlic pulp be rescued and blended into softened butter for naughty-but-oh-so-nice home-made garlic butter, but the dish also contains sweet clementines that infuse the carrots with a citrus tang, a very tasty edition to any meal.
These and the many other mouth-watering recipes on the site will easily demonstrate how much variety there is in the vegetable world and hopefully encourage you to try some of the Christmas food ideas at Live Well for Less.
While we all try to source local produce as much as possible, to sustain farming and reduce our carbon footprint, every now and then we like to treat ourselves to something out of season, exotic or simply different, and there is no reason at all why we should be limited to boring starchy vegetables on what should be one of the most delightful and fun-filled days of the year.