This is an article written this article was originally written by Simone Brunshøj for GRIM blog https://medium.com/eat-grim. GRIM delivers ugly and surplus fruit and veg in form of a food box subscription to private consumers as well as to food businesses
Ever wondered how your veggies actually grow on the field? Your designated writer never gave it much thought, apart from thinking that they grow either on a tree or directly from the ground. Maybe the joke’s on me, but maybe you’ve experienced the same incorporated non-thinking, that we’ve been brought up with from all our trips to the supermarket. Anyway, here are are few truths about how veggies grow.
When one became two: Celery and celeriac
For a Dane the confusion is serious between the two plants celeriac and celery, that have twin names in Danish.
One is a big root that is good in soup and tastes strange. The other one is a bunch of fresh green crunchy stalks that go well raw with dip as a healthy snack. But little did we know, that they are actually from the same plant, hence the similar names.
In Denmark, and in farming in general, the celery and celeriac are cultivated to grow with a focus on either the root or the top, and that is why we never see the whole plant in the supermarket, or even in the GRIM boxes. But naturally they have grown together as one whole plant, fully edible from root to stem. Today it is not even possible to find a picture of them as they used to grow in their natural shape, and the only image is this one, from Google to help give you an idea of the original uncultivated beauty of the plant.
Palm tree gone brussels sprouts
Another natural weirdo is brussels sprouts that actually grow like a small palm tree on the field. There is along way from the small ping-pong-ball sized veggies that have gone solo and which we buy in plastic bags from the supermarket, to these palm-like fields that take your mind to the white beaches of Florida.
But these are brussels sprouts as they look naturally. Like palm trees on a tropical beach, or like the French dessert Croquembouche. But it’s neither. It’s a sort of cabbage how it naturally looks before it meets consumers and shelves in the supermarket. Luckily for GRIM, we actually get to show you a little bit of reality, when we provide you with brussels sprouts still on the stalk.
Secret life of the wild parsnip
You probably already know, that parsnips grow under ground just like their close relatives, carrots, as well as potatoes and other root veggies. But perhaps you didn’t know (at least I didn’t), that parsnips’ closest uncultivated relative, the wild parsnip, grows as weed in the Danish landscape.
You see it everywhere in spring and summertime, and now, you can also think of all the secret life that is hiding underground: it’s delicious edible roots. But beware, the stalk and stem has a poison in them, that can cause a rash on your skin, when exposed to the sun. Perhaps that is why their roots are kept a secret, and why they’ve been cultivated to smaller edible versions of themselves.
Thank you to Simone, for this little “behind the scenes”, which we will do a lot more of in the future. Until next time, remember to think about how the stuff on our plate came there.
Photo credit: https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/tillage-volatility-is-the-only-constant-in-grain-trading-34227081.html