Picking the Produce

It’s lovely to see the allotment full of plants and looking good. We only have the French beans to plant up and apart from weeding we can sit back and reap the rewards of all our hard work.

The strawberries are ripening and we are picking lots. We made a new bed last year on the new part of our allotment but we still have the old bed as the land hasn’t been taken over yet. New plants never produce as well in the first year but a combination of the old and new means rich pickings. The main problem has been the rain which hasn’t stopped for the last week. We have had to resort to picking in wellies and macs which doesn’t seem right somehow.

We eat our fill of strawberries then I freeze some down for using in smoothies or on porridge in winter. It means that we eat berries most days (we will also have raspberries and blackberries) which is so good for health especially as they are all organically grown. I also like to add strawberries to stewed rhubarb, some of which I also freeze.

My tip for stewing rhubarb so that it needs less sweetening is to cover it with cold water and bring it to the boil. Then as soon as it starts to boil tip it into a sieve and allow most of the water to drain away before placing the rhubarb back in the pan. This takes away a lot of the acidity from the rhubarb. There will be enough water present to finish cooking it. I then chop some dates and add them to the pan and leave the rhubarb to cool and the dates to soften. A quick process once cool and my rhubarb is ready to eat.

The lettuce in our back garden have cropped really well along with the rocket and coriander I planted there. Normally at this time of year I make a large salad for lunch each day with masses of lettuce lining the plate but again because of the weather we haven’t eaten as much. Now the lettuce and rocket are going to seed and as I hate to waste any of our organic produce I have resorted to making lettuce and pea soup. With the rocket I have made pesto sauce which is delicious.

Well this newsletter has been more about cooking than growing but then isn’t that why we grow the produce. Finding ways of using up gluts is part of allotment life and I love it.