Harvest Day – Preserving the Crop – Citrus etc.

Although there was some welcome rain during October mostly the days were warm and it was pleasant to be out in the garden, with the changing of the clocks came colder weather, a fire in the evening became a pleasant idea.  Still no need for the heating but I don’t think it will be long until that is necessary.  But then last Friday was THE most beautiful day – sunny, warm, blue skies, a real joy to be outside.  I planted up some pots with Tulips and Alliums to flower next spring, tidied, weeded some beds began the greenhouse reorganisation ready for bringing in plants that won’t survive outside all winter.  Making space for cuttings I want to take and seedlings from the garden that I want to keep an eye on.

The bed with Brassicas has been very productive.  Pointy cabbages now need to be eaten, they are beginning to split.  I used the fennel a couple of weeks ago leaving just two large bulbs that were shelter for Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, yes, they’re still there; I know I posted about them last month.  One of the larger bulbs I harvested last weekend to use to dip into the new olive oil.

The olives are harvested; we have 32 litres of fabulously green, peppery oil to enjoy plus about the same left from last year’s bigger harvest that is perfect for cooking.  I’ve been making soups with my Barlotti beans so we can drizzle new oil over the top.  New oil is all about drizzling!

There were still lots of aubergines and peppers up until the last weekend in October so another ‘last’ roasted Mediterranean vegetables was cooked and enjoyed and a last baba ghanoush.  Actually there are still a few aubergines on the plants and I will keep using them until they stop producing.

Quinces have been harvested; I made ‘hot’ quince jelly with the addition of some chillies while the quinces were softening.  This is lovely with cheese, but it is quite difficult to decide how much chilly to add, I used ones straight from the plant (meaning they had ripened when there was plenty of water) and so the result is subtle heat rather than blow your head off!  I also made for the first time quince chutney, the recipe kindly sent to me by Amelia from A French Garden; I’m letting it stand for a month or so before use as I know chutneys are usually better after a time for the vinegar to mellow a little.  It’s a nice colour so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Chopped quinces, green tomatoes etc. for chutney

Quince chutney almost cooked

I made Thai green curry paste with the green chillies and froze the excess red and green chillies for future use.

Most of my limes are ripe – ALL AT ONCE – so I made lime marmalade and will try a recipe for pickled limes I found in a Delia Smith book.  Any other ideas for syrups or cordials that you’ve tried would be greatly appreciated.  There are a lot of lemons too.  Lemon marmalade is now in the store cupboard, I’ve never made these kinds of marmalades before and am thrilled that they have a really fresh taste and are very different from each other, I rather feared they’d both taste the same.  I will make lemon curd and some preserved lemons too.  My store cupboard is beginning to look very full and pretty with all the coloured jars.

there were about 35 to 40 limes and about as many lemons but luckily the lemons aren’t all ripe at once!

Deliciously sharp and slightly sour lime marmalade

Lemon marmalade is better than I ever dreamed possible

The dwarf beans I planted outside have a small crop which is a real bonus this late in the season.  Basil has finished now, it doesn’t like the low light levels any more than I do!

I’m joining The Gardening Blog for Harvest day, I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re harvesting in their spring gardens.