Thursday 22 October 2020

Autumn in the Allotment - Part 2

 One thing which has been a nice problem to have in the past few weeks is what to do with all the pears that we have harvested, especially as they seem to all want to ripen at once! (there's only so many pears I can eat!)

So, with the help of one of my go-to preserving books (The Preserving Book  - DK/Soil Association) I have been bottling pears for use in the new year after the remaining stored ones have been eaten. 

The pears were washed and peeled and chopped up and put into sterilised jars. A thick sugar solution was boiled up to pour into the jars and then the jars were heat treated in the oven. 

We've also been making Kimchi using this recipe which appears to be relatively foolproof - though I was rather surprised to get a decent result on the first time I made it! Whilst it is fine to keep the finished kimchi in the fridge for two or three weeks, making sure that the ingredients are fully submerged, we've found that boiling the mixture up and putting in sterilised jars means a much longer shelf life although the intensive flavour does reduce quite a bit by doing so. 

It will be soon time to make another batch as there's three more cabbages ready in the allotment now!
In the same patch in the allotment the very last sprigs of summer broccoli are available but then there will be a gap in this until the purple sprouting broccoli is available in the new year. A handful of beetroot and the last of the spinach beet are also available to pick. Next year I am going to try a different variety of beetroot as the variety Boltardy haven't done that well for a couple of years to be honest so I am going to maybe try Cylindra which the plotholder of a neighbouring allotment has been growing successfully this year. The "Italian" varieties don't work very well in our allotment at all. 

It will soon be time to make pumpkin/squash chutney. The method I use is documented here  but this year I won't be able to go to my parents' house to use my mum's big jam pan - this pan did belong to her mother and was saved from being turned into raw material for the war effort! I do two different chutneys, one ginger and one spicy, with to be honest a general guesstimate of the spices required but it all turns out fine every year. The spicy one is great with a mature cheddar. I also sometimes make a courgette and onion chutney, in fact I am currently eating a jar from 2017 which again has a bit of a kick to it and has gone well with Davidstow Cheddar. I made rhubarb compote earlier in the year. 

Finally, I bought a new English Lavender bush for the allotment this year as the old one looked as if it had reached the end of its useful life (it has since regenerated itself aftera thorough pruning back!) and whilst the new one is still small, I've seen bees on it all summer and into autumn, the other day there was some kind of carder bee for instance. I also have a couple of lavender plants for the yard which are in pots right now, one of which was looking very sorry for itself outside a small Sainsbury's supermarket during some hot weather but has revived happily in the back yard!

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