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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Produce

To those regular readers, you will remember that. due to having the space, I have gone mad and planted too much this year and so have ended up with a glut of....well....almost everything. I have a large chest freezer full, loads of bottles in the cellar, made jams and chutneys every week and given piles of stuff away. I have even, dare I say it, shoved some on the compost heap and given masses away to feed pigs and calf. The geese and chooks are not amused when they see me coming armed with an assortment of goodies (they would much rather have junk food!)

So although the weather hasn't been great, for some things the wet has made them grow out of their strength. The tomato plants look grim, but in fact I have used masses for chutney, frozen some for later use, bottled and bottled, pickled and sauced, and given loads away, even sold some and bartered some. And, you know, I try hard to be grateful when we are given them by the carrier bag (three already this last week) but all I see is more work with nowhere to store what I might produce. The jar man at the market has run out of cheap jars and has started to buy them in, and passes the cost on making them rather expensive so I am trying not to buy them unless I plan to make chutney...which I didn't this week. As I've said, the freezer is full and I have enough bottled for a couple of years. When our lovely neighbour looks over the wall all she sees are poorly, dying plants, she doesn't notice that there are masses of fruits on most of the fifty plants....so she sends me whoppers, as do the other neighbours.


Cucumbers. I worried about mine earlier. We had a cold spell just after I planted them out and they sulked (mentioned somewhere) But they came on late as I knew they would. Really, we only need about two or three plants, but just in case any fail, which they do for no real reason, I have six plants. Far too many but the geese like them and the chooks will eat them on hot days. I made lots of pickle, which sells. But (sorry if I sound ungrateful again) we don't need carrier bags of the things given. We like tzatziki, and the local soup...which is in effect watered down tzatziki, and we quite like the pickled cucumber I make with a recipe given by a friend. But I am afraid the compost heap is beckoning again, I hate to do it........

Peppers. We have planted far too many. We have long red ones, yellow bell ones, squat ones and chillis. They are doing OK after a slow start, again because of the weather. But there are masses of peppers on, including red ones earlier than the neighbours. We don't actually use a lot of peppers, maybe should use more with their healthy benefits. But the neighbour is worried in case the forty odd plants are not enough and is sending big, juicy green ones over by the bag full. We don't use much chilli either, not quite sure why Dave wanted to plant so many....maybe it's a man thing. I hope the neighbours don't grow them. The squat peppers are for pickling after we were given some pickled last year and enjoyed them....oh dear.

Thank goodness their courgettes were a bit sad and we have been able to give them many overgrown fruits. We have a lot in the freezer, they are not bad shoved in the woodburner oven with onion and left to roast. We are using them as babies and the rest go to the animals. Sorted (I hope)

Aubergines. We didn't put many in, a small variety as we only use them in dips or battered when we are feeling the need for naughty food. Dave likes moussaka. Our neighbour gives us many long, pointy ones. I don't know what to do with them. We still have roasted puree from last year clogging up freezer space and lutinitza in the cellar also from last year. The geese don't like them.

Sweetcorn. I have mentioned these on previous posts. The chooks are enjoying a little of the neighbour's gift as an afternoon treat, stored in the freezer. I grew plenty for our own use and it is frozen and ready. Today a friend has kindly given me two carriers full which I will dry for the chooks over winter, though too much is seemingly bad for them.

The sunflower is a swap, large yellow in return for some of our bronze ones

Beans...or bop. It may be remembered that I grew several types of beans and they take up a lot of freezer space. I have had two sorts of runners, climbing French, borlotti and broad beans. I also grew some local yellow beans which I am not mad keen on, but froze a few anyway and pickled some sweet and sour. The rest went to a friend for her pigs. We have also given masses of the other beans away and dried and frozen borlotti. But they keep coming by the bag load and I have no idea what to do with them. I will not bottle them, it will be a waste of bottles, fuel and time. The geese are not interested.............heck!

The melon season has just started. As mentioned earlier, the neighbours were surprised that we gave them the first melon of the season before their's were ready. Our's are just the right size for two, and any which go soft are eagerly eaten by the fowl. If last year is anything to go by we will soon be inundated with yellow and water melons from both sides. We can see from the bathroom window that the rear neighbours, an elderly couple, have dozens.......................

Pumkins are a while away yet, but we have hundreds of butternuts and other squash. Maybe we can get in first! How did they happen? Very few plants and so many fruits.

So, while I realise that it is their culture to give stuff away, and I really am grateful that they are making sure we don't want for anything, I am at a loss to know what to do with it all.

Did I mention the two bags of pears a friend brought round, from their tree?

7 comments:

  1. Yikes! But really, what a great problem to have. Too much food. I have cukes coming out my ears and it is impossible to keep up with them. I mostly eat them plain just as they come off the vine but today I made some hummus dip to see if they will go down faster!

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  2. Trillium follows and enjoys your blog. Keep up the great work.

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    1. How lovely to hear from you, you have been missed.

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  3. My goodness you have so much fruit and veg. I buy bags of peppers from the farmers market. I chop them up and freeze them for making pepper soup in the winter. Have you tried making pepper jellies, really good with cheese. Also grate all my zucchini that we don't eat fresh for making cakes. It's too bad you only have one source for jars for all your preserves. Maybe you could give your repeat customers a deal if they return the empty jars to you when they buy their next jar. Good luck!

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    1. Hi Janice, thanks for the suggestions. I have no idea why I have planted so many peppers, I'm not a big fan. And the only cakes I make these days are for others. But I am not bothered about the courgettes, anything the neighbours' animals will eat is OK. Next year will be different!

      All the big supermarkets sell jars this time of the year as well as new lids for old jars, it's a cost thing really. I like shapes in lots of six rather than all different but the diesel costs and the fact that I would spend too much on other things stops me Haha.I have tried offering a discount for returned jars but they forget to bring them back. As long as they come back for preservesI am happy. No doubt when they start tripping over them they will bring them back. Thing is, it's just a hobby, the preserves thing, I don't want it to get serious or it gets too much like a business and that is something I do NOT want.

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