A big bunch of shaggy yellow and rust coloured chrysanths, enough to fill two vases, and harbouring a few tiny snails, was just the latest gift this week from our green-fingered elderly neighbour. He is overwhelmed with produce at this time of year and gives away bags of his fruit and vegetable harvest.
From late summer we often come home to find that a green bomb-shaped object has landed on the doorstep – the courgettes are in season!
As the harvest goes on they get bigger and bigger, and trying to keep pace with them we made a discovery – if you chop them finely and add them to sauces such as bolognese sauce, they cook down to the point where they’re not detectable, but add to the flavour, boost your daily vegetable intake – and make more portions. A good way to sneak vegetables into reluctant children.
I’ve also made pans of fluffy stewed apple from our neighbour’s Bramleys, to be eaten with yogurt and topped with crumble. There was a bumper harvest of plums this year, perfectly nice eaten straight from the tree, but also good in a crumble.
And the English peaches grown on a south-facing wall looked pale and wan compared to their fruit shop counterparts. Their thick fuzzy skins looked tough, but turned out to be perfectly edible, and the flesh was sweet and juicy. Particularly good on morning muesli.
Lurking in the cupboard is a shiny, dark jar of homemade chutney a friend made, which I’m saving as long as I can, to eat with cold meats and cheese.
Don’t miss reader Alan Williams’ recipe for pumpkin soup cooked from the flesh he scoops out to carve Halloween lanterns.
Has your garden produces a good harvest this year? Have you been desperate to give away produce so as not to waste it?
What are your favourite ways to preserve fruit and vegetables to eat during the winter?