After a few days away visiting my daughter and her family I came home to find that the tomatoes in the greenhouses had been ripening well. So well that some were too ripe and squashy to be used and only a few would keep to eat fresh. In the past I have cooked them up in a pan then sieved them to make passata which I have bottled. But being pushed for time this year I simply halved them, put them on baking trays skin side down. sprinkled them with slivers of garlic, some salt and a drizzle of olive oil and roasted them. they are now packed in boxes in the freezer to flavour big casseroles or turn into tomato sauces.
To make space in the freezer I took out some sloes which I had picked last year. Those I stewed with the last of the apples from Marie and turned into jelly. I used to make sloe gin, then re-use the sloes in sloe brandy before finally adding them to apples for jelly but I have plenty of both the gin and the brandy so this year they went straight to jam!
As I started to clear the veg patch of old plants I found lots of climbing French beans which were too old to use. I had already pulled up some vines in one of the greenhouses and saved the pods for seed for next year so these I hulled and will use as fresh haricot. There are loads more plants to clear so I may have to get the dehydrator out and dry them to store for later in the winter.
There are potatoes in the shed, carrots and beetroot still in the ground, jerusalem artichokes ready to lift, and oca still growing. Sadly the parsnips disappeared – probably eaten by slugs – and the swede look wonderful but some pesky rodents have eaten all but the tops! I no longer grow cabbages since it takes me too long to eat a whole one but the red Russian kale and the perennial cabbages are looking good and I still have some perpetual spinach in one greenhouse. I have to buy mushrooms, exotics and tree fruit (since my trees are not productive and I cannot work out why), plus the things that fail like the parsnips but it still helps my food bill to grow what I do. And there is no comparison between the taste of a freshly pulled carrot that has been grown organically and the standard supermarket version.