Allotment Achocha

Well, we’re getting there with the seed saving. The house is full of bowls and saucers of seed and stacks of seed envelopes overprinted with the book details. I can’t believe that it will be published in March! The first packets of seed (French Marigolds and Royal Black Chillis) have already been distributed to some lovely people I met at the weekend – I’m not sure what they made of the idea, but I’ve never met a gardener yet who’d turn down free seeds.

Because some people emailed me to ask, this is what the achocha vine (known also as the Lady’s Slipper vine apparently) looks like. The fruits are small, spiny, cucumber-like objects that have to be picked young or the seeds become woody very fast and you have to cut the pods open to remove them. The flavour is somewhere between a cucumber and a green pepper – we’ve used them in curries, on top of pizzas and in ratatouille and you can pickle them, I gather, although I haven’t tried.

While it’s not an unusual or exceptional contribution to our diet (unlike say globe artichokes, a real premium food) the achocha has one major advantage: its rampant green growth covers an eyesore really quickly and it still counts as a crop so it’s a contribution to your cultivation percentage if your allotment site is one of those that has taken to setting a percentage for all tenants. It is destroyed by the first air frost, being absolutely not winter-hardy and has odd black seeds like dragon’s teeth. All in all, it’s worth trying if you like the odd unusual vegetable and have something hideous like an old coal bin or a hideous chain link fence, to hide for the summer at least.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

5 Comments:

Blogger Joanna said...

How long does it take before producing anything? I only ask as we have a short season but willing to try out something different

November 10, 2010 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous allotments4you said...

Hmmm.. interesting...I think I may give this a try next year. Do you think it will do well in a pot?? I don't know that I want it going totally wild over the plot!

November 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

I'm told they're also good in chutneys, although it's not something I have tried myself yet.

November 11, 2010 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Chicken lover said...

I had some Achocha plants given to me by a fellow Freecycler this summer and grew them up a wigwam. They cropped really well and I too have saved seed for next year. Would well recommend giving them a try. I threw some into a spaghetti bolognese, used them as an alternative to green peppers.

November 11, 2010 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. What is needed))

December 10, 2010 at 3:20 AM  

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