I seem to have been doing a lot of pressing, squeezing, chopping, cooking and tasting – all in the name of filling the freezer and preserves cupboard.
Is it some deep-felt need to go through this every year – originally in case of times of hardship. Well, not really – I mean, everything is readily available in the shops – so what makes us keep on with this ancient practice of hoarding food against the shortages of winter – when we know there won’t be any.
To be quite honest, even if we don’t really need to do it – I quite enjoy the whole thing of gathering in the surplus crops and trying to make something tasty out of them – and I do get quite a kick out of opening the cupboard and freezer and seeing them full to the gills of homemade produce.
Anyhoo, what did I spend the last week doing.
- Mixed Berry Jam
- Damson and blueberry jelly
- Vegetable Mulligatawny Soup (for the freezer although we did have a bowl each first)
- Apple Juice
I thought I would get the (seldom used) juicer out of the cupboard and make the most of the over-abundance of James Grieve apples on my tree. I was going to get rid of the juicer as it is only taking up cupboard space – then I thought – why not turn the apples into juice. The result is one glassful from about ten large apples.
When you drink this tart-sweet juice, the sharpness makes you salivate, and look at the lovely pinkness of it. It smells and tastes just the same as the apples, which I guess is no surprise – I found it really refreshing – but was it worth all the mess, and the washing of all the parts of the machine just for a glassful? The jury is still out on that one – but I won’t throw the juicer out just yet – it has earned a reprieve for now.
I think that’s me done for this year a) because I have no room left anywhere to store anything and b) because I have run out of freezer containers and jam jars.
The evening on Sunday was glorious – I took a couple of pictures of the veg patch just as the sun was going down ~ as you can see it wants a good sort out ~ it all starts to look a bit messy at this time of year with the runners dying back ~ tomatoes needing to be taken down ~ foxgloves that have seeded themselves into the beds need digging up and transplanting, all jobs that I will get on with when we come back from our September break at the coast.
I have planted some onions in modules in the greenhouse – they were in the shop so I thought I would give them a try as I have never grown them this early before – but it seems a good time of year to get things going – the seeds I sowed last week are all through already ~ even the carrots which usually take an age to germinate ~ I’m dead chuffed because my original sowing of carrots got munched by the badgers and I haven’t had a single one this year.
And finally – I was reading an article in Gardens Illustrated last month about the Great Dixter vegetable garden and Christopher Lloyd’s book ‘Gardener Cook’ was mentioned. I purchased it for the princely sum of 1p. It has lots of recipes on how to use up the vegetables you have grown all given in Christopher’s own inimitable style – I shall definitely be trying plenty of them out during the course of the gardening year.
‘Til next time – happy veg growing …