18 August 2008
Anyone who knows me even slightly can tell you that I adore purple. I love it. Shoes, clothes, trinkets, bathroom – if it’s purple I’ll have it. It’s such a rich, vibrant colour and the associations with chocolate don’t hurt either. Stuck for an idea of what to get me for a gift? Pretty much anything purple is just the ticket.
It’s the same in the garden. Blues, violets, lilacs, lavenders – all will catch my eye and beg to have a place in our patch. Not to the exclusion of other colours, you understand. A zingy orange or a cool cream contrasts nicely with the all-important purple.
Purple is not the first colour you might think of when looking for suitable vegetable crops. Ok, there’s aubergine but I don’t like aubergine. Seriously. Yeuch. Nor do I like red (gah!) cabbage. Beetroot is a recent addition to our kitchen but it’s still not something I like to eat (that texture, bleurgh), preferring it raw in juice. But beetroot is more maroon than purple anyway, wouldn’t you say?
I have found a few puple veg and my list is expanding. Blauhilde beans are a real favourite in our garden. The pretty lilac flowers, dark stalks and deep purple pods are a staple. They are oh-so-easy to grow which is partly why we love them so much. Purple Sprouting Broccoli is still to be seen as a success on our patch, but I am quietly confident this year. In the past I have also tried purple chillies, purple tomatoes and purple carrots, none of which I did very well with. Don’t worry, I’ll keep trying.
Best of all, this year we have had real success with Arran Victory potatoes. They are a delicious, floury potato with a vibrant purple skin. They make fantastic roasties, but we’re hoping they will also be wonderful as baked potatoes. Imagine – baked potatoes with crispy purple skins. How fab is that? Yesterday I dug up the final few plants which are utterly glorious in their purpleness. We’ve had almost 5kg of potatoes from 8 plants and a good few are baking size. Next year I intend to grow more of these.
Still, however lovely the purple skin is, the flesh is still very white. I’ve not decided yet, but I might try this Salad Blue variety which, with their blue/purple flesh look like something of a novelty. Anyone out there tried them before?