Harvest time


tomatoesWas it only in my last post, that I was waxing lyrical about Late Summer colours??  All of a sudden, the tomato plants are brown and crispy, and their fruits are ripening on the windowsills.  Well, some of them are…greentoms

…some of them clearly weren’t going to make it, so I harvested all the ones growing in the  veg beds – which to be honest were always a bit of a long shot!  Since I’m now living back in Herefordshire there seems to be no shortage of apples either, so there was only one thing to be done:tomchutney

Spicy, sweet, apple & tomato chutney – yum!  I know you’re meant to leave it a month at least to mature, but I had half a jar left over and I couldn’t very well waste it, could I?  Great with mature cheddar in a sandwich, I can vouch!  Many thanks to Cook Sister for the recipe, which you can find HERE.

Every year I always grow lots of basil plants, because fresh basil and tomato salad is one of my VERY favourite things to eat!  And every year there comes a time when I have to concede that summer really is over and it’s getting too cold for basil plants, and I harvest all the leaves and make one of my other very favourite things to eat, fresh pesto.  I like to grow lettuce-leaf basil, but these are rather tender, and last year I strung it out until the leaves had started to turn before I finally gave in and harvested them.  The resulting pesto was pretty bleh, so: lesson learned!

With the lovely warm weather we’ve had lately, I hung on til October 5 this year.  How’s this for a great harvest?  Can you believe that all these leaves…basil

mush down to just this much pesto??pesto

Still, it was enough for 2 dinners, a supper, and a small tubful for the freezer.  And I have to say, it was DELICIOUS!  (My pesto recipe: basil leaves, fresh garlic, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, ground almonds, chopped cashews, grated parmesan.  Whizz the leaves, garlic, and oil with the blender til mushy, add everything else to taste and whizz some more til it looks like this).

The garden’s been full of surprises this year, not least these luscious elderberries which were the result of me not lopping the elder bush in the hedge earlier in the summer because I wanted to the bees to have the flowers.elderberries

Virtue has its own reward, huh?! (And yes, I did leave some berries for the birds!).jam

The jam recipe is from a lovely book that I’ve had since my 20s, ‘A Country Harvest’ by Pamela Michael.  It’s probably one of the most-used cookbooks I own, and if like me you love picking fruit from the hedges and wild foods, I highly recommend it.

So what with my runner bean chutney, made last month, and redcurrant jelly from gift of redcurrants (thanks, Penny!) all that’s left now is to store the squashes and pickle the beetroots, and get good and fat over the winter!preserveparade

Wishing you all a totally delicious week 🙂