It has been a long wait, that's for sure! A little nibble here and there as the vegetables have slowly grown to size, but nothing like the usual July when the kitchen garden gives abundant crops. A few purple potatoes, some carrots, broad beans and peas, but all in moderation while waiting for the plants to grow into their own. And then suddenly - finally! - my kitchen garden starts to give bumper crops.
First up came the broad beans. From picking the few biggest ones at the bottom of the stalks the rest were quick to follow, and within a fortnight my lovely jungle of calendula and beans was filled to the brim. Nothing is as delicious as fresh beans, but in a good second place comes the midwinter warmer of beans from the freezer. Although we've gorged ourselves happy on the fresh ones, a bucket load ended up in the freezer too.
Next up has been my favourite Blauwschokker pea (Pisum sativum var.arvense). It has given a steady crop for the last two weeks, and it seems to keep on producing endlessly. This year, so far, I haven't put any in the freezer as we have eaten each harvested bucket! It is less sweet than most peas, and that to my opinion is why it is such a great cooking pea for salty meals. Shelled and lightly boiled, served with olive oil and garlic just like beans, or added to a vegan risotto for dinner, used cold in salads or made into pea pesto - somehow this beauty never made it past the hungry crowds in my home and into the freezer.
Potato Purple Rain continues to give fairly satisfactory crops. It is not as good nor abundant (in my opinion) as last years Purple Queen. It tends to disintegrate on the outside even more than the Purple Queen did when cooked while retaining a hard core, but as an oven potato it is excellent. Still, I can't resist making potato salads with it and the colour is as amazing as always with "blue" potatoes. The moniker blue potato is superbly apt when boiling them as the water takes a hysterically poisonous looking blue tinted hue.
Elsewhere in the garden the currants have ripened and consequently I have spent so many hours this last week just picking their berries. It takes for ever, but once I get into it I find it quite meditative. It is life in the slow lane, spending hours on my own, and gives me time to listen to music and contemplate life and stuff. To me there is something beautiful about taking time to perform a task for hours on end mindfully. And then there is of course the complete joy of drinking freshly made juice filled with happiness and goodness. I sort the white currants separately with the red currants, but as I have an abundance of red currents I also add them to the bucket of black currants. The taste is subtly different depending on the mix and ratio. Then I freeze the juice without added sugar so that I can make jelly later on in the autumn. As they are ripe at the time of picking they are quite sweet enough in themselves, and I like the little sourness they still retain.
Finally the zucchini is giving fruit, and suddenly my salad has bolted into knee high tower blocks. Even with all my youngsters at home there is no way we can eat it all so I have taken to giving away the excess to friends and neighbours, and so far home grown food seems to be as welcome a gift as an imported bottle of wine.
Wishing you all a great week!