So here is a run down of what I have done with our summer harvest.
Our blackberries were amazing. I made my own blackberry vinegar, and Country Boy made some berry vanilla yoghurt iceblocks. I also froze a heap of them and put them in snap lock bags for winter. I’m planning pies and crumbles over winter.
We picked several bags of peaches which grow wild on trees by the side of the road. I stewed a heap of them up and they are also in the freezer for later use.
Country Boy got a bit excited at the thought of growing his own tomatoes, and may have gone overboard. We were getting 3-4kg every day during the peak. Tomatoes were a mandatory part of every meal.
I made a heap of passata (Italian tomato sauce) – I have about 25 containers in the freezer. I also made about 20 jars of homemade tomato sauce. My father in law is a big fan of the tomato sauce, and it will go quite fast. I also dried a lot in the oven to use in pasta.
There is an old fig tree in the paddock near by. The whole family loves figs, and we have been known to just stand in front of the tree and scoff them. Despite this, we couldn’t eat them all fresh. I made about 20 jars of fig jam (my father in laws favourite), and also dried some to make sticky fig puddings later (stay tuned for that recipe!).
We don’t actually have rhubarb plants yet, but my mother in law gave us a heap of rhubarb because she knows I love it. I made a big pot of rhubarb with strawberries, which was divine! I also made a rhubarb crumble cake – yum! Like nearly everything else, I have a couple of containers of rhubarb in the freezer.
We had a humongous lot of zucchinis. For a while they were a compulsory part of every meal. We had a joke that the kids had to guess the ‘secret’ ingredient in every meal – it was always zucchini. We have eaten a heap of zucchini slice, and have grated zucchini into all our pasta sauces etc. I have about 15 bags of grated zucchini in the freezer to use through out winter.
I also invented my own zucchini cake, which was yummy (which reminds me, I still have one in the freezer too).
As I posted last week, we are over run with pumpkins. I have already roasted some and made soup. I also made some pumpkin and cinnamon scrolls. I am also using the small, orange, nugget pumpkins to decorate the house – not really food related, but they look so pretty!
We still have several cucumbers in the fridge to use up. Country Boy made a whole lot of dill pickled cucumbers. They smell like the ones from Mcdonalds, but taste a whole lot better. He also tried to make cucumber soup, which was not the hit he hoped it would be.
We also have a heap of spinach, carrots, potatoes, and squash that we are still eating.
One of the things we wanted to do when we moved to the country, was to grow more of our own food. It has been a great experience for us, and we have learnt a few lessons.
Firstly, just because you can grow that much food, it doesn’t mean you have to. We do not live near a main road, so there is no point putting out a table of produce out with an honesty box. Luckily the pigs will happily eat any produce we can’t deal with, and is starting to go off.
|This is my small second freezer – full of produce!|
Secondly, our kitchen is hopeless. Designed in the 1950s, it lacks storage, and could not be more poorly designed. In the longer term, we need a big pantry where we can store all this produce. We had to buy a second freezer (on a garage sale) to deal with all the food (and the pork from the pig). I also bought a huge pot, because even my stock pot couldn’t fit enough in it.
Lastly, dealing with all the produce and keeping the garden going takes a lot of time. It is fantastic to get all this food, but the pay back is that you need to spend a lot of time dealing with it.
Luckily it will be a few months now before we hit the winter harvest.