James Wong's - Homegrown Revolution

Posts Tagged ‘Chickpeas’

CHICKPEA 'EDAMAME'

CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’

Posted on: September 6th, 2012 by James Wong 19 Comments

Love those deliciously nutty pods of edamame beans you get in Japanese restaurants, but frustrated you can’t grow them in the UK? Well I think I have gone one better with super easy-to-grow chickpea ‘edamame’!

WHAT ARE CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’?

Chickpeas

Chickpeas might be a common sight in the UK in cans & blitzed into hummus, but the fresh pods of the young green ones have yet to make it to the shelves of even the fanciest supermarkets. So all the more reason to grow your own!

The mini pods, each containing just one or two ‘peas’ are far more sweet and nutty than regular edamame, which is now sold frozen in huge packs for just a couple of quid.

HOW TO GROW CHICKPEAS

THE VARIETY ‘PRINCIPE’ GROWING IN MY GARDEN

The plants make a excellent ground cover crop of ferny silver leaves and pretty white flowers & the best thing is they are virtually foolproof to grow. Ridiculously drought resistant, free from pests and can even be sown from a supermarket packet of dried (not canned!) chickpeas. So what on earth is stopping you?

THE PODS ARE READY WHEN THEY LOOK LIKE THIS

Pods are ready to harvest when they are slightly hard to the touch, but still a bright, fresh green. Brown papery pods with contain starchy dried up seeds. You should even be able to judge the size of them by holding them up to the light.

THE HARVEST FROM JUST ONE SMALL PLANT

Just one plant will provide a pretty decent starter for two people. With three plants offering up a gluttonous treat. To prepare and cook them simply snip off the pods and cook them just like regular edamame – more on this later.

FUZZY LITTLE GREEN PODS READY TO BE COOKED

HOW TO EAT CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’

You can also shell them first, boil for 1 minute or so and toss into salads, cous cous or rice dishes. You can even mash a cup of the cooked peas with an avocado and stir in 1 tbsp olive oil, a clove of chopped garlic & 1/2 tsp of chopped mint to create a mean dip somewhere between guacamole and a fresh green hummus!

CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’ JAPANESE  STYLE

FROM GARDEN TO KITCHEN IN 5 MINS FLAT.

For lazy sods like me though the simplest way to to dunk them in a pan of briskly boiling water for just a minute or two and serve them drizzles with sesame oil & a sprinkling of sea salt.

CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’ SPANISH STYLE

CHARRING BRINGS OUT THEIR PISTACHIO FLAVOUR

The same mix can be given a Spanish twist by charring the whole pods in a dry pan just until the begin to blacken on the outside. Douse with olive oil, smoked paprika and sea salt and scoff with a cold beer. Finally a beer snack you don’t have to feel guilty about!

For full instructions on how to grow, cook and eat Chickpea ‘Edamame’ check out pg 96 of my new book Homegrown Revolution!

September Harvest Intro

MY SEPTEMBER HARVEST

Posted on: September 6th, 2012 by James Wong 4 Comments

Check out what’s growing on at my trial ground this month. From fiesta popcorn & green tea, to chickpea ‘edamame’ & inca berries, September really is the the month of plenty in the 21st century veg garden.

MY HARVEST ON 19th SEPTEMBER

September Harvest

THE RESULTS OF A 15 MINUTE FORAGE IN MY 5X5M FRONT GARDEN. ALL GROWN OUTDOORS IN WHAT WE ALL MUST AGREE WAS A PRETTY MISERABLE SUMMER EVEN FOR THE UK!

The haul includes fiesta popcorn, inca berries, tomatillos, Chinese chives, Chilean Guavas & cocktail kiwis (all available – or soon to be available- through my Suttons Seeds range). Other bits and pieces include Squash ‘Sunburst’, Chickpea ‘Edamame’, Tomato ‘Hundreds & Thousands’ & several fancy Chili varieties.

‘JADE BLUE’ CORN

Blue corn

I’ve had loads of questions about these little guys. Bonsai-sized, ‘Jade Blue’ corn that instead being sugary (notice I don’t call ‘em ‘SWEETcorn’) have a deliciously starchy texture, like a cross between roast chestnuts and waxy Jersey royal spuds. I had ‘em grilled on the BBQ and rolled in butter and parmesan. Total foodie heaven.

The plants too are super-dwarf, growing only to 40cm high, yet produce a good 2-3 cobs per plant. Perfect for containers. Definitely passed my tests! Don’t believe me? Here’s a pic of a plant from one of my favourite US websites…

JADE BLUE CORN PLANT – (Click pic for link)

I got mine from Tradewinds Fruit in the States – bought over the net. OK the delivery here is a little pricey, but if you buy enough packets it works out OK.

COCKTAIL KIWIS

Cocktail Kiwis

Grape-sized, super-sweet kiwi fruit that are hardy down to -35C and commercially cultivated in Herefordshire. Want more info? Then check out my blog post on them.

MANUKA 

Manuka Flowers

Although normally in season in the late-spring and early summer, this year the cool weather has triggered mine into a second flush of flower right now. Their leaves add a richly herbal bay leaf /eucalyptus fragrance to all manner of sweet or savoury dishes, including my homespun ‘Mock-nuka’ honey. You don’t need a hive, just steep them in shop bought honey to create a pretty convincing counterfeit blend that will taste just as good as the stuff that costs £15 in fancy supermarkets imported from the other side of the planet. There’ll be a blog post on exactly how to do this soon…

CHICKPEA ‘EDAMAME’

CHICKPEA HARVEST

Love those deliciously nutty pods of edamame beans you get in Japanese restaurants, but frustrated you can’t grow them in the UK? Well I think I have gone one better with super easy-to-grow chickpea ‘edamame’! Check out my blog post on how to grow, cook and eat ‘em.

QUINOA GREENS

Quinoa

OK so the delicious, gluten-free seed heads might not be all quite ready to harvest just yet, but the stunning flowers have been cheering up my garden for weeks. Related to spinach, the tasty leaves have a flavour which is virtually identical and are SO much easier to grow.

Wanna track down the seeds? They are available as part of my Suttons Seeds range.

JAPANESE QUINCES

Chaenomeles

This is a widely planted ornamental plant, a favourite of council roundabouts and supermarket carparks, yet produces masses of little ‘mini-quinces’ for next to no effort and can be used in the same way. In Japan they are highly prized in scented liqueurs, believed to be good for the voices of public speakers. Hopefully they’ll come in handy as I continue my national tour of talks!

OREGON GRAPES

Mahonia

Recognise this? Yes, it’s Mahonia aquifolia, the enormously popular, ‘thrives on neglect’ garden plant. What us Brits haven’t cottoned onto though is that those powdery blue fruit are a popular ‘wild food’ staple Stateside – hence the common name ‘Oregon Grapes’. Simmered up into jams, jellies, syrups and sauces, cooking magically transforms their tart, pea-like flavour when raw into sticky, gooey blackcurrant-scented goodness.

INCA GHERKINS (AKA. ACHOCHA)

Achocha

A newcomer to my trial ground this year, these vines from the cucumber family stunned me by their ability to swallow up my beds and borders in scrambling branches loaded with hundreds of curious hedgehoggy fruit – even in this chilly, soggy summer.

You cook ‘em just like a green pepper, with a delicate cucumber flavour and rich, roasted pepper texture.

 CHILEAN GUAVAS 

Chilean Guavas

Reputedly Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit and once widely cultivated in the UK. They have a flavour like a cross between pink guavas and wild strawberries, with a sophisticated myrtle-like fragrance. Hardy down to around -10C, they have to be one of my favourite air-freight free exotic fruit, producing 100′s of berries on just 3 small plants. They are at least twice as productive as blueberries and half as tricky to grow. They are lovely in an autumnal fruit salad with homegrown cocktail kiwis and inca berries. Here is my recipe on how to make it (scroll about half way down the link).

PUMPKIN ‘WINDSOR’

Squash

Don’t ever let it be said that I am against all conventional fruit & veg. Plenty are brilliantly easy & much tastier and cheaper to grow than they are to buy. This year I am growing an infinite variety of tomatoes, dwarf pumpkins (like this little guy in the pic above), runner beans, Florence fennel, beetroot & even some purple carrots and raspberries.