Friday, 24 September 2021

Pick, Cook, Repeat


My three word gardening post his month very much surrounds the picking and preserving end of the growing season. There are baskets of fruit and vegetables grown on the small holding and foraged from the fields. They all arrive right now. With a very convivial September climate here in the UK this year it has been a bumper harvest.

We mostly try to eat produce straight away but when you pick nine courgettes and 3.5kg of beans in one picking there needs to be an element of preservation.

Today I decided to enter wholeheartedly into full kitchen chaos. I strained four bottles of raspberry and blackberry vodka which had been brewing for a month; I made plum jam; courgette and pesto soup; one gallon of damson wine and a batch of 'Glutney'.

Glutney is a recipe from River Cottage garden which is interchangeable depending on what you have loads of. This one has apples, courgettes and yellow tomatoes. Obviously it is never quite the same twice so this one is lighter than the last one which I made with red tomatoes but it all tastes good with cheese or sausages.

I am succeeding in getting the last of my tomatoes to ripen using hanging bananas on the training wires in the greenhouse. I was sceptical but it works.

Preparing and blanching beans has been a family event after our evening meal, we have quite a production line going and the freezer is getting full. I tried to just freeze the raw beans but they were not as good as when I went to the trouble of plunging them in boiling water for 3 mins then into ice water for 3 mins.

We have been seasonally vegetarian eating as much as we can. My mum's favourute was beetroot tarte with feta cheese.

Stuffed courgettes were not a hit - too soggy and reminiscent of watery stuffed marrow I had as a child but we ploughed on through that one. Much more popular was a Sunday dinner heavy on the veg and light on the ham.

There are flowers in vases cheering us along in our harvesting endeavours.

In the flower borders I have had to cull some of the cosmos. I grew them from seed and pricked them all out laboriously hoping they would fill my borders until the shrubs filled out but in fact, they have crowded out the shrubs growth so I had to pull some out. It was hard when they were putting on such a show but needs must.

No hills in sight early in the morning on this day but the sun has been shining through in the afternoon.

The piece of vintage farm machinery is in there somewhere!

The dahlias are going strong but I am having to dead head them every other day. Finally, I planted out my Asters which I grew from seed into pots so I am hoping for a little show before the frosts.

This weekend we are all off to the Malvern Show which is usually in spring but has been moved to Autumn. Lots of inspirational gardens to see and I am sure there will be some plant buying too.

I will leave you with a super special early morning view today. I usually post an evening sunset but this morning's version was beautifully serene.

Happy gardening! Love Jo xxx


  1. I had a good harvest of beans this year too and have tried to cut corners to no avail. You are so right nothing beats plunging them in boiling water for three minutes and then in ice cold water for three. They will be worth the extra work for a taste of summer in those colder months. A wonderful display of veg and flowers, a stunning garden.

  2. Brilliant harvests. I read somewhere that at this time of the year, gardening is 40% in the kitchen. It will be so good to have those beans in the depth of winter though. The flowers are amazing too. I bet the bees love the cosmos. CJ xx

    1. I absolutely agree. There is no point growing fruit and veg if you don't have the skills and persistence to get on it in September. x

  3. Wow that’s a lot of produce. Well done you for preserving so much and eating so much of it. The beetroot tart looks really tasty and I bet I’d like it too. Love the little courgettes they look more interesting than the tubular ones. The flower vases are very colourful and look lovely dotted around the house.

  4. How sweet it is to eat veg that you've grown yourself. And the flowers are beautiful as well. I enjoyed peeking into your kitchen.