Preserve your harvest

At some stage most veggie growers have to deal with the question – how do you deal with the surplus?

I have just 16 square metres and I STILL get a surplus. This is great really, gives me chance to share with others (who don’t mind odd-shaped veggies or ‘lacey’ green leaves) and some left over to preserve.

I’ve done well at the allotment this weekend.

Another good picking of cucumbers to pickle.  Plus a nice bunch of sweet basil for a little jar of pesto.

I have already posted about my cucumber “Bread and Butter “pickles here and here at the end of November. (If those three cucumber plants keep going at this rate I’ll be drowning in these pickles!)

So in today’s post I’ll concentrate on the pesto. I started with a bunch of Sweet Basil but I also had a surplus of parsley which I decided to mix with the basil.  The basil had been going to seed giving it a much stronger flavour so I was quite happy to add the milder tasting parsley to boost the quantity of herbs required for the recipe.

I assembled the simple ingredients for this recipe. You will see that the recipe also requires parmesan cheese but I add the parmesan just before I use the pesto.  I read somewhere that the pesto keeps a bit longer if you do that.

Pesto ingredients with garlic

Pesto ingredients with home grown basil, parsley and garlic

And here is the result of my labours of the morning, three jars of pickles and one little pot of pesto. The joy of this is the fact that I produced so many of the ingredients myself (with Mother Nature of course).

What I didn’t mention is that I have a small red pepper plant growing on my balcony and I also added the peppers to the cucumber and onions in the pickle but they are obliterated by the labels. Nothing is wasted in this house.

I will store my little jar of pesto in the fridge as we are at the height of summer here in Brisbane. I plan to use it within the week, spread over a slice of crusty bread, drizzled over sliced tomato and mixed through a nice bowl of pasta with a good grating of cheese.

The result of my labours

The result of my labours. The little pot of pesto on the left.

Happy gardening.

“We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave”

Who first sang that line?  I’m singing it today!

It’s 39c degrees in Brisbane as the heatwave continues this week.

I went over to the allotment at the crack of dawn this morning to see if anything is still living!  It was.

It amazes me that stuff is still growing despite this heat as I cannot get over every day to water it. But I thought it was a good idea not to push my luck and to harvest as much as I can, while I can.

I filled up insulated bags with plenty of silverbeet, kale, parsley, cucumbers and carrots. Once I’ve finished this post I’ll process the silverbeet and kale for the freezer. The curly parsley is starting to go to seed so I picked heaps of it and I’ll chop it up and freeze it in ice cubes.

I’ll check over the cucumbers to make sure the fruit fly hasn’t stung them and I’ll probably have enough to do another small batch of bread and butter pickles.

It will be a good way to spend the afternoon, in the air conditioning.

Just to finish off, here is a pic of my first tiny little melon. It was hiding under a leaf.  Is it cute or what?

IMG_1920

Happy gardening.

Bread and Butter Pickles – day 2

Following on from yesterday’s post, I ended up with three jars of Bread and Butter Pickles.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Although it takes 2 days to complete the recipe it really is hardly any effort at all. Once you’ve sliced and salted the cucumbers they just sit in the fridge overnight. Waiting. Then you prepare the jars and pickling vinegar the next day.

We had a lovely downpour of rain last night and it’s over 30 degrees today so with weather like that I reckon that in a couple of days I’ll have another bag full of cucumbers. In our climate these jars need to be stored in the fridge as they do not go through a water bath –  the way my cucumber plants are going I might have to buy another fridge.

It is amazing to me just how much produce you can get from two tiny allotments (16 square metres in all). I know this is only three jars, but that was just one picking, and my three cucumber plants have only just started producing.

And did I mention that the kale and silverbeet is STILL producing. I would have thought by now that my winter crop would have given up the ghost. Must have their roots firmly established. Probably take a truck to grub them out when the time comes.

Happy gardening.

 

Cucumbers – Bread and Butter Pickle

This warm weather is really bringing the cucumbers on. I staked them but they seem to prefer running across the ground. So I’ll let them.

This is what I harvested today.

It’s enough for me to make my first batch of Bread and Butter Pickle of the season.

Here is the link to the recipe that I use. It also gives you a picture of the finished product.

The first step is salting and  slicing the cucumbers and onion to sit in the fridge overnight.

They’ll be bottled in the pickling vinegar tomorrow.

Happy gardening.

Work continues on the wheelchair access at the farm

We are improving wheelchair access at Beelarong Community Farm where I keep my allotment. Concrete paths were laid this week.

Concrete can cut an ugly swathe through any previously green area but will be softened once we relay some turf to butt up to the concrete path. We were working on laying the turf yesterday but I had to leave before the job was finished so I couldn’t take a pic.

The important thing is that this gives easier wheelchair access to the raised garden bed, the meeting area where we share our morning tea, the sheds where the tools are kept and the toilet (which also has wheelchair access).

I set out to the allotment early yesterday morning to beat the heat of the day. There was hardly any weeding to be done as the whole plot is mulched now. I harvested the last bag of potatoes and picked plenty of kale. The kale and silverbeet is still producing even though the plants are a bit long in the tooth now as they are what remains of my winter crops.

Yay! picked the first of the Lebanese cucumbers. (The tomatoes are courtesy of my local greengrocer. Gotta support him where I can with fruit and tomatoes as I grow most of my other stuff.)

I want to harvest enough of these little cucumbers over the next few months to make my bread and butter pickles.

Lebanese cucumbers, first of the season

Know what I love about my home-grown veggies? They have more personality than those in Coles (supermarket) where they only stock straight cucumbers.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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