GARDENING: The difficult beauty of courgettes

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COURGETTES, one of the prettiest of vegetables, are not to everyone’s taste. And even if they are, you can get heartily sick of them.

After last year’s three varieties, I’ve cut it back to one variety, two plants, at the request of my family, who are not courgette fans. Two plants are quite enough to supply an average household.

I’ve stuck with my usual Cavili (pale green with a creamy flesh), which I had left over from last year, but I notice Thompson & Morgan have dropped it from its catalogue, which is a shame.

I grow Cavili because it is parthenocarpic - it has the ability to set fruit without pollination. It manages to perform even when weather conditions are dull and chilly.

People are often stuck with what to do with courgettes - you can only put up with so many fritters - and life is too short to stuff them, or their flowers. Make sure you pick them young and tender, about 6” long.

However, courgettes, like carrots and beetroot, make excellent, moist cakes. It’s my advice to tell no-one what’s in a recipe. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

There are two courgette cake recipes on my website – spicy chocolate and citrus drizzle. They’re both really good at using up courgettes you forgot to pick, when you find yourself with huge, tasteless marrows.