GBHD – Eating and harvesting at the beginning of December

I mentioned picking the main heads of broccoli, well already many of the plants have large secondary heads; one plant has so many there is more to eat from the secondary florets than there was from the first main head!  I love broccoli cooked in many different ways: just plain with a little new oil drizzled over, cooked then refreshed and then recooked in oil flavoured with chilli and garlic, roasted in the oven with coriander and garlic and, perhaps my favourite, cooked then used to make pasta sauce along with anchovies, garlic and chilli – this is a speciality of Puglia (Apulia).  Risotto with broccoli is also a warming winter dish.  Last week when I picked all the secondary heads that were ready there was enough to make risotto, pasta sauce and two portions just eaten as a vegetable.

A few fresh dwarf green beans - a treat at the end of November

A few fresh dwarf green beans – a treat at the end of November

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I’ve never had such large secondary heads on broccoli before.

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Colourful chard is giving a good crop and amazingly I picked fresh dwarf green beans from the last sowing outside, they are slow to grow now but taste very good.

Strawberries continue to give us a couple of bowlfuls a week, such a treat at this time of year.  I made juice with the pomegranates, there weren’t so many this year and they were small so not enough to make jelly as I had intended, but the juice was delicious.

Last weekend was cold, a time to be in the warm kitchen and cooking.  With some leeks, carrots and celery plus frozen Barlotti beans I made a hearty soup, served drizzled with our oil it was perfect to warm us in what is now definitely winter.

I also decided to make some jams and jellies with fruit I’d stored in the freezer during the summer.  Raspberry jam and Blackberry jelly (actually from fruit from 2011)

Blackberry jelly, just beginning to boil

Blackberry jelly, just beginning to boil

and strawberry jam, crab apple mint jelly and (something I’ve never made before) green pepper and chilly jelly; there is one red and one yellow pepper but the rest are all green and I don’t think there is much chance of them ripening, hence the idea of making the jelly.

Green peppers ready to be added to the food processor along with green chillies

Green peppers ready to be added to the food processor along with green chillies

I can post any of the above recipes if anyone would like them.

There are a few aubergines, enough for one last meal but then the plants will be pulled out and added to the compost heap along with the basil plants that have lost all their leaves.

I’ve already used all my onions from this summer so I’ll have to grow more next year.  I’ve already planted some garlic and bought some red and yellow onion sets plus some shallots, I think now that the weather seems to be getting cold, I’ll wait and plant all the sets in February or early March.

While I was buying some new gardening gloves I saw that they were selling asparagus crowns, so I was tempted into giving them a try.  They weren’t a named variety and I’ve no idea if they are male or female, I will have to wait to see if they are worth the space they will take up.  I’m trying to work out how I might have space for some more beds – there is an area that is part of the property but outside the fence.  I is a bit of a slope so will need to be terraced I think.  It maybe too much work to be able to develop this space but it is hard knowing the space is there but I can’t use it.

Thanks to Christine and Barbie for hosting GBHD; they have late spring and summer crops now, so that will be a contrast to the wintery veg from the northern hemisphere.

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16 thoughts on “GBHD – Eating and harvesting at the beginning of December

  1. Your vegetables sound delicious. My plot is too small to keep a lot more than summer vegetables apart from my essential Brussels, leeks and parsley. I was surprised your strawberries are still producing even slowly. My extra strawberries are frozen to make jam after Christmas. it is too nice in the summer to make all the jam, so like you I try to delay the cooking.

  2. Christina, you really still have aubergines and peppers?! My plants flopped about a month ago…
    I am so envious of your broccoli! I want to grow some broccoli too next year, pasta with broccoli is one of my faves but I use chopped bacon instead of anchovies. The right recipe is yours by the way. I didn’t know you had a gastronomic blog too! I am a follower now.
    Yesterday I’ve picked my first leaves from the black cabbage (Nero di Toscana) since it’s been exposed to frost overnight it was ready for ‘ribollita’ which is another thing I love.

    • The food blog is going to change. I began it to use with American students, as you will have seen; but I don’t teach that class now so I think I’ll just put all my favourite recipes on it, not just Italian but Thai, how I preserve things. Christina

  3. That blackberry jelly looks delicious. And I’m so impressed with your broccoli! I had such a bad time with mine last year, I didn’t even try it again this year. Maybe I should have.

    • In England broccoli is sometimes called Calabrese; this is a clue to where it grows well, Calabria, one of the hottest regions of Italy in summer and also cold in winter because there are many mountains. I plant plug plants into the beds that have been cleared of onions, usually at the end of August and they grow very quickly. It is a crop I like growing because you continue to harvest through to spring unlike cabbages etc. Christina

  4. Delicious! I am a huge fan of broccoli, in all its forms, and am so looking forward to growing my own. Do you blanch it before roasting it?

    I’ve been toying with the idea of an asparagus bed – TNG doesn’t like it, so it is hard to justify the space, but if mil and fil move here, I will succumb…

    • I’m not sure the space is warranted as the season is so short, I may try growing some things between the rows, even maybe tulips to pick for the house and salad crops, I’ll let you know. Christina

    • Yes, I think they might, someone I met on Saturday suggested the same thing, she said putting them in a paper bag would also help. I’ll try with the few peppers that are left, thank you

  5. So much delicious food there. Makes me feel guilty that my own plot isn’t producing much. Some chard and kale is really all that is left now. The leeks went to leek moth and spring greens to slugs. My purple and white sprouting broccoli are looking good though so I’m anticipating a good harvest from them in spring.

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