Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner

As Christmas 2013 approaches many of us will be heading down to the nearest supermarket or even a high-street greengrocer to find the important components of our Christmas dinners. Some people spend all year waiting for this one meal, sitting down with the whole family and tucking into the traditional meal – turkey with all of the trimmings. The thing is, it’s often a particularly expensive meal because most people always buy and prepare too much food and we end up eating reheated turkey and stuffing sandwiches for the next week!

With Christmas already an expensive time for people who have to buy numerous presents for their family and friends, as well as the tree and all of the decorations that help us to get into the festive spirit it’s definitely worth looking at ways you can save money in the future and one of those is around the dining table – no, don’t worry, you don’t have to cancel your favourite meal so don’t panic; but you could look into growing the ingredients yourself for your 2014 dinner.

While some parts can’t be homegrown, like the Turkey and Yorkshire puddings, or the gravy (obviously); the majority of the other essentials can be planted in your own back garden so you can keep a close eye on your dinner from your own window – and with extra emphasis placed on local produce these days, you don’t get much more locally produced than that!

Christmas is, after all, a time of year where we focus on the traditions. We all have our own, whether it’s just spending time together, decorating the house with wreathes and holly, attending carol concerts or waking up at 7am to open your presents (the only time in the whole year you’re all out of bed before 10!) Growing your own ingredients for the dinner doesn’t mean breaking from those traditions, it just means changing them slightly. You can still have the king of the vegetables – the potato. As long as you plant these in your garden around the end of July or early August (at the very latest), and keep them protected from the frost, you’ll have your own potatoes ready to roast just how you like them for you to take that first crunching bite just feet from where they were grown.

The brussel sprouts are a tradition for a number of reasons – mainly that people traditionally hate them! However, they’re a staple part of the Christmas dinner and millions of people do actually love them even if they won’t admit it. The fact is, brussel sprouts are jam-packed with vitamin C and can be served in a variety of ways that all bring out a strong flavour, and many have taken to serving them mixed with pancetta to add even more to the taste. When planting your own, do so in April so they’re ready to harvest at Christmas.

Carrots and parsnips are also staple parts of the meal, and both can be grown in your garden too. There are a wide range of different carrots, but the majority are usually planted in June to be ready for Christmas, while the parsnips need to go in the ground slightly earlier, usually around April.

Of course, if you can’t wait until Christmas 2014 (or even this year), you can get your teeth into something from the limited edition URBAN eat “Chrimbo-licious” Christmas range, coming to stores very soon.

Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano via Compfight cc