Sunday, 11 September 2011

September harvest: week one

A plate of mixed tomatoes.

Here they have been put into an ovenproof dish, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The larger ones have been chopped.

And this is what they look like after being roasted in a medium oven for over an hour.

The weather this week has not been kind to the tomatoes, but it has suited the autumn vegetables. We've had a bit of everything - sunshine, rain, wind - alternating rapidly. Currently, I'm awaiting the second major storm of the season, this time the remnants of a hurricane, which means outdoor work (such as fencing, painting, repairing previous wind damage) is on hold. The only minor concern is the newest addition to my garden, a quince tree, which has gone in the front. It's a pretty exposed position, though very sunny and with good soil, so I need to stake the tree today to stop it rocking about in the ground, preventing the roots settling. Other than that, ripening is slow. Too little sun has made this a summer of disappointment for many - comparing notes with family who've been visiting recently, confirmed it wasn't just a northern problem. But I have successfully ripened green tomatoes indoors with a banana in a bag (a traditional method, which never ceases to amaze, despite its simplicity) - and I suspect more fruit will go through that process than will ripen on the vine.

Totals for week 1st-7th September:

1st: 11g French beans, 11g runner beans, 193g tomatoes (comprising 3 'Jaune Flammée' at 57g, 1 'Costoluto Fiorentino' at 61g, 2 'Snowberry' at 8g, 6 'Gardener's Delight' at 35g*, and 5 'Sun Belle' at 32g; day total: 215g)
2nd: 28g summer squash, 2g French beans, 45g tomatoes (comprising 4 'Gardener's Delight' at 17g, 1 'Jaune Flammée' at 21g, 1 'Snowberry' at 7g; day total: 75g)
4th: 13g pumpkin flowers, 1g runner beans, 15g radish, 49g tomatoes (comprising 6 'Sun Belle' at 20g, 5 'Gardener's Delight' at 23g, 2 'Snowberry' at 6g), 483g apples (day total: 561g)
6th: 30g French beans, 30g tomatoes (comprising 2 'Snowberry' at 14g, 3 'Gardener's Delight' at 14g, 1 'Sun Belle' at 2g; day total: 60g)
7th: 2g French beans, 61g tomatoes (comprising 3 'Jaune Flammée' at 47g, 2 'Gardener's Delight' at 12g, 1 'Sun Belle' at 2g; day total: 63g)
Week total: 974g
Year to date total: 22.452kg

Still, nearly a kilo of produce in a week is not bad - around half of that apples, from the smallest 'tree' in the world (a tiny, knee-high standard my grandfather passed over to me a couple of years ago; last year it carried no fruit at all, this time it had nine, though all were very small). Enough tomatoes for a few meals, enough to gladden the heart and give me an incentive to grow more next year (as if I needed one). Their taste is incomparable.

Meanwhile, I've had a lot of bought produce to deal with. It's a time of plenty, with fruit and vegetables very cheap in all the shops, so I've been making liqueurs, and have plans for more preserves and frozen desserts. Stocking up for winter!

*I couldn't remember exactly how much, between 30 and 39g, so I split the difference.

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