Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picking My Seeds

In the depths of winter, when there’s too much snow and cruddy road conditions, I like to pull out what my husband calls, “Jessie porn.” Also known as seed catalogs. Oh baby.

I got my first catalog of the season in the mail the other day from the Seed Savers Exchange, a company that deals exclusively in heirloom (not hybrid) seeds. And there are some really interesting ones. The ones that are currently getting me all hot and bothered:

Information and photography is from the Seed Savers Exchange Online Catalog:

Hungarian Heart Tomato
Said to have originated in a village 20 miles from Budapest around 1900. Huge pink oxheart fruits weigh upwards of one pound. Very few seeds and almost no cracking. One of our favorites for fresh eating, canning, and for making roasted tomato sauce. Indeterminate, 85 days from transplant.

I planted this tomato last year, and it is the only tomato I ever want to plant again. It was an amazing slicer and canner/freezer, and held its top-notch flavor through processing. A+++

Black Valentine Bean
Introduced in 1897 by Peter Henderson & Company. Shiny black seeds in 6" pods. A great dual purpose variety, use for fresh snap beans or dry soup beans. Prolific and dependable. Tolerant of cool temperatures. Bush habit, snap or dry, 50-55 days.

I haven’t tried this bean, but I love that it is both a fresh snap bean and dry soup bean. Dual purpose rocks my world.

Bull’s Blood Beet
Selected by Dutch seedsman Kees Sahin from the French variety Crapaudine for the darkest-colored leaves. Remarkably beautiful red-purple tops. The juice from the beets is used to make the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law. Deliciously sweet. 35 days for baby leaf tops, 55 days for edible roots.

These beets are used for the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law? That’s just awesome. That the words “Deliciously sweet” also appear in the description was just a bonus.

Two Inch Strawberry Popcorn
Small red strawberry-shaped ears are good for popping and gorgeous for fall decorations. Plants are 5-6' tall with 2-4 ears per stalk. 100 days.

Squee! Popcorn! Pretty popcorn at that! This is definitely making the short list.

Ok, I could go on and on (and on… just ask my husband) about what seeds I’m lusting after. But I’ll spare you, at least until the next time I want to pretend the view out my window is green and not white. I wonder when the next catalog will arrive...

These are just my opinions, I have received nothing from Seed Savers Exchange that I have not purchased.

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