From garden to freezer
I suppose our garden is quite large by modern day standards but, until recently, it has been neglected and overgrown. Put it down to me not getting the work/life balance quite right.
Over the last 3 years however, I have begun to fight back against the undergrowth. Trouble is, a lot of the overgrown chaos consists of raspberries and blackberries and I enjoy both these fruits so cutting them back usually gets postponed. I was a bit more ruthless this year and, ironically, this means I have been able to get at more of the fruit.
I am still harvesting the blackberries on a daily basis, freezing as I go. These will in all likelihood become jam. I collected about 1kg of raspberries and today I am turning these into a sorbet. There are any number of recipes for sorbet and I am not going to give one here. I would just suggest that, whatever recipe you use,
- if you are using fruit that you have previously frozen, use slightly less water than stated,
- taste as you go. The acidity and sweetness of the fruit will vary from year to year.
And so onto the cooking apples- lots of them. H was in charge of these. Peeled, cored and roughly cut, some lemon juice to stop them browning. Some water. Boil until almost a mush but not quite. That’s it. The philosophy behind this is that we are not making ready-made meals for the freezer but preparing ingredients for various possible meals. The important note here is to freeze in smallish quantities. The cooked apples might be used for a large crumble- with added sugar and cinnamon- or a small bag might be used- with added pepper and nutmeg- to go with a pork dish.
And so, onto the courgettes. I managed to clear enough of the wilderness to plant out 4 courgette plants. We picked some early courgettes as and when and simply fried these as a side dish but eventually a harvest becomes a glut.
At #drinkderby on Friday @tony_jacobs suggested roughly grating unpeeled courgette and freezing. This is what we have done with some of the courgettes. Applying the same philosophy as with the apples, these grated courgettes can become an ingredient for various recipes. A few possibilities:
- Courgette bread. Recipe here.
- Brown rice, courgettes and mint. A risotto style dish from Nigel Slater
- Courgette cake (no link but Nigella Lawson, How to be a Domestic Goddess)
With the rest of the courgettes I simply sliced these quite thickly, salted and allowed to drain. Cooked some onion and garlic slowly in some olive oil- translucent not browned- then removed to a pan with slotted spoon. Equal amount of tomatoes to courgette, covered, simmered and removed to pan. Then the courgettes, cooked without oil until al dente. Add to pan and simmer until some of the liquid is reduced. How long you simmer for is up to you but it doesn’t need to be too reduced as again, you are preparing an ingredient to be recooked at a later stage. Again, I haven’t added any herbs or spices; these can be added on recooking.
So, a good day’s cooking, providing ingredients for several meals when we don’t have quite as much time.If you have any recipe suggestions for any of these ingredients, please add a comment.