Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Harvest Prizes

Our vegetable garden, which is big enough on a bad year to feed a family of ten is, after a gracious summer, overflowing with enough food for double that number. Its nearly October and tomatoes are still ripening on healthy green stalks while peppers, aubergines and courgettes are growing firm and healthy as if it was still July. We have too much to eat already while kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts and leeks await their turn in the limelight.

My first prize of the year has to go to dear Rene who, with the help of my husband, tackled my mass of green manure in spring and dug it well into the soil to make the perfect setting for the healthy vegetables and fruit that have thrived.

My best tomato of 2015 has to be the Indigo Blue Apple  with it blackish-purple skin, a sparkling orange-fizz juiciness and intense sweetness that managed to resist sun-scald and cracking while clocking in four times as much lycopene and anthocyanins (blueberry antioxidants in simple terms) than the average beef steak tomato.

With aubergines, it just has to be the svelte and shimmering Imperial Black Beauty. As someone who prefers the thinner-skinned, paler versions for their white, digestible, acid-free flesh, this was a revelation. I didn`t even need to salt it to love it.

The hot, citrus-like Limon pepper makes a surprisingly fine raw harissa....

...while the Banana melon with its spicy-salmon flesh was,once again, so fragrant and delicious.

Delicata summer squash, tender and sweet like a sweet-potato, wins hands down because you don`t have to cut off your finger removing the skin before roasting as the skin is as delicious as the flesh...

Yellow Crookneck courgettes continue to be fine, creamy and insanely generous....

...while Pink Lipstick chard is as gorgeous as any garden flower with its hot-fuschsia stalks and glossy pine-coloured leaves that don`t fade when cooked.

Enough dreaming. There`s work to do.
As I write the first cinder cranes are animating the blue sky with their undulating flight southwards to a more clement winter,  accompanied by their unceasing "krou krou krou".
Summer is at its end....