This week, most of us are harvesting, many of you are reporting that your courgettes are now growing and you are frequently picking them. We are sharing the best recipes through the Orchard Training Cookery Club. These include courgette cupcakes and picked courgettes and favourite courgette stir-fry recipes.
I have checked over my cucumber plants and we will have enough to start pickling gherkins soon. We are experimenting with different 5% vinegars to see which we like best for the long storage of pickles. These are the ones we will pickle now but eat at Christmas with the Boxing Day cold meats. I think everyone has agreed that the Japanese rice wine vinegar is the groups favourite for quick pickles – these are pickles you eat the week you make them.
My chives got too big for their pots this year and so I have been plating them out to make an edge to one of the raised beds. In order to move and replant them they needed a huge ‘hair cut’ which started off our activity – drying herbs. Since then we all have been working on successful methods for drying our herbs. We all seem to be doing really well with chives, rosemary, thyme and thinking ahead to drying the herbs need for Christmas Dinner, with sage for the stuffing. Flavoured butters and oils was a very popular activity, we have started with the basics but as the other herbs and chillies become ready for harvest we are looking forward to seeing who makes the best ones.
I have an early plum variety called Victoria in my garden. Lovely sweet plums! They are not making it into the kitchen. Weeding around the plum tree has become very popular with some of my family members – I wonder why?
The blackberries are now ripening very fast and so we are having to deal with them as a crop too. As we have already had a go at jams and curds this year, we are now looking at the basics of freezing techniques so we can eat these lovely berries during the winter with our morning porridges.
But not all of them will go straight into the freeze as some varieties of apples have started to ripen. We are getting windfalls now, a little bit earlier than expected so individual apple and blackberry crumbles will go in to the freezer.
You are welcome to join in our activities, just drop us a line and we will include you.