For many of us, spring has sprung early in a hazy, temperate, slightly concerning February. But now it’s March, and the saturation dial is eking up the chart from pale primroses to sunshine yellow daffs. The winter stores beginning to dwindle, but the yellow carrots, dug in November, are still crunchy. This is the second year growing ‘Jaune D’obtuse’ and it’s become a firm favourite on my list of must grows. They range from almost white to a vibrant, bright, and cheery yellow.
Carrots are very easy to grow (once you’ve discounted rabbits and root-fly), even on our clay soil. We’ve nurtured the soil (the absolute soul of the garden) over the last couple of years using the no dig method. We pile on a load of mulch during winter and let the worms do the hard work, and now we have lovely loamy top soil sitting on top the clay. A simple scattering of carrot seed in foot-wide strips, and then a gentle scattering of soil over the top does the trick, with rewards a few months, in the form of lovely (mostly) straight roots. Thinning can cause carrot root fly to sniff out the delicious crop, so we plant them next to alliums to bamboozle the critters, and then we do our best to leave the carrots to do their thing until they’re ready to harvest.
In celebration of all things sunshine, albeit while still wearing those woollens and wellies, here is an embrace of the seasonal shift at it’s finest, in this moment where winter momentarily borrows from summer, only a warming, sunny carrot soup will do.
Carrot and Saffron Soup
- 2 medium yellow onions diced
- Approximately 10 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Glug of olive oil
- Large pinch of saffron
To serve (optional)
- Dried calendula petals
- Tbsp Crème Fraîche
Heat the oil in a pan, and add the onions. Gently fry until translucent, then add the carrots, and the bay leaves and continue to gently cook in the oil for 5 more minutes. Add the stock and simmer for half an hours . Add the saffron for the last five minutes, cooking on a very low heat. Take off the heat and blitz with a food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve with a pinch of saffron and dried calendula petals. Swirl in a teaspoon of crème fraîche and it’s ready for the table.