Kitchen Garden: Grow Your Own Condiments!

If you have followed our advice and decided to set up your own kitchen garden then why not use it to grow the ingredients to make some delicious home made condiments. There are several vegetables, herbs and fruits which are staples and key ingredients to several condiment recipes. Here's what you could be growing and how it can be used.

Vegetables

Onions

Onions

When to plant: March-April
When to harvest:July-August
How to use them: Onions are hugely versatile and form the base of more savoury recipes than we could care tocount. White onions have the strongest flavour and will form part of a homemade ketchup or barbecue sauce recipes. A perfect accompaniment to your sausages and burgers.

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Garlic

When to plant: October-February
When to harvest: July-August
How to use them: Like onions, there are very few savoury recipes which don't include garlic and it is one of the vegetables you can never have too much of. Here you will find it used as part of recipes for home made ketchup, mustard, pesto, tomato sauce, hummus, salsa and barbecue sauce.

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Celery

When to plant: March-April
When to harvest: August-November
How to use them: Celery can be a little high maintenance to grow as it requires a lot of water (which shouldn't be a problem in British weather!), however will be plentiful if grown in favourable conditions. Again, celery will be an integral part of many ketchup recipes.

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Horseradish

When to plant: March-April
When to harvest: September-November
How to use it: Horseradish has a very distinctive smell and is a member of the mustard family. Horseradish sauce is a perfect accompany to any beef roast or beef sandwich. Shred the horseradish root and mix with a few good pinches of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and 2 cups of white wine vinegar and mix the ingredients together well.

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Peas

When to plant: February-July
When to harvest: June-October
How to use them: Your chips will look lonely without a good dollop of mushy peas next to them and what could taste better than your very own home made mushy peas. A good helping of cooked garden peas, a few tablespoons of double cream along with a little butter, salt and pepper all whizzed up in your food processor will taste wonderful!

Herbs

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Mint

When to plant: All year
When to harvest: All year
Where to use it: It's worth going to the trouble of roasting a joint of lamb just so you can drizzle it in lovely mint sauce. Take a handful of shredded mint, add 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (with extra to taste) to 4 tablespoons of boiling water and add a pinch of salt and a level tablespoon of caster sugar. Make sure you save some lamb for your sandwiches too...

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Basil

When to plant: All year
When to harvest: All year
Where to use it: Pesto is delicious and versatile as there are so many dishes it will complement. Of course, it's perfect with pasta but it also livens up pizza, mash potato, omelettes and us a beautiful addition to a broccoli soup. Grind up 3 handfuls of basil in a pestle and mortar (or a food processor) along with a small pinch of salt and a small clove of garlic. Add a handful of pine nits and grind the mixture a little more before mixing it into a bowl with half a handful of Parmesan cheese. Stir the mixture slowly and add a little extra virgin olive oil to bind it all together. Add a little seasoning and another handful of Parmesan and extra oil to taste.

Fruit

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Tomatoes

When to plant: February-April
When to harvest: August-October
Howto use them: Tomatoes are easy to grow at home, especially if you have a greenhouse. If you are looking for an alternative to tinned tomatoes (which often contain lots of salt and preservatives) then fresh home grown tomatoes will be a satisfying addition to your homemade ketchup.

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Apples

When to plant: November-March
When to harvest: August-November
How to use them: Just as lamb and mint sauce are best friends, a pork roast is just asking to be covered in delicious apple sauce. Whatever your preference for apple variety, it takes no time at all to conjour up a simple sauce. Slice up3-4 of your preferred apples and add them to a pan with 50g of caster sugar and 50g of butter. Put the lid on the pan and keep on a low heat, stirring occasionally until it becomes a puree. You may wish to double up on ingredients - just because it's apple sauce and you can never have too much.

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Redcurrants

When to plant: November-March
When to harvest: August-November
How to use them: You will find that redcurrant sauce is a lovely accompaniment to a duck or lamb dish (or sausage sandwich!) and it couldn't be simpler to make. Add 450g of redcurrants to a pan along with 300g of soft brown sugar, a couple of pieces of orange zest, a chopped shallot, 100ml of pot and 2 sprigs of rosemary. Cook the ingredients for amount 20 minutes until you reach the desired consistency. Removethe rosemary and zest before leaving the sauce to cool.

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Plums

When to plant: November-March
When to harvest: August-September
How to use them: Plum sauce and duck are also best friends. This sauce is also very quick to make. Fry some chopped shallots in a pan until soft and then add yourchopped plums along with 50g of demerera sugar. Stir the plums until the sugar has dissolved at which point add 50ml of red wine and 300ml of beef stock. Stir the mixture together until it thickens and becomes soft.