Bountiful Berries…

…and tight connections

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I have been up to my eyeballs in berries all summer long. The berry season began early in June with the first red currants of the season.

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By mid-June the raspberries were also in full swing. I picked raspberries every day for nearly two months. This summer I decided to weigh the raspberries at the end of each day’s picking. By the middle of August I had picked over 60 pounds of the ripe red berries from the two rows that grow in our garden.

At the same time the boysenberries, related to wild bramble berries, were ripening on their vines.

016 Continue reading “Bountiful Berries…”

Sweet Scent of Spring…

Spring is the busiest time of year on the island. All winter long nothing much seems to happen. When spring arrives, suddenly, an overwhelming number of activities vie for our attention. The garden needs planting. The grass needs cutting. People come to visit. C. gets busy preparing his boat  for the salmon fishing season. Continue reading “Sweet Scent of Spring…”

Marmalade…

…a jarful of sunshine.

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The last blast of winter seems to have taken place and the crocuses are blooming. Snowdrops drift across the pet graveyard under the black walnut tree like snowy remnants left behind after the last thaw.

Last week C. and I made a trip to town for supplies. The road to town was finally clear of snow. We were out of milk, coffee, oats and other essentials. It was past time to stock up on groceries. I was eager to find one particular item that had been on my list for the past couple of months: the elusive Seville orange. Continue reading “Marmalade…”

Pass The Chutney Please….

It is another very wet fall day here on the island, at the edge of the rainforest. It has been pouring with rain all day long but the sea outside my front door is calm. A misty grey monotone, it is peaceful and beautiful in its own way. It is not too bad out there if one dons head to toe rain gear and rubber boots before venturing out into the monsoon.

However, inside it is warm and dry and I am tempted to stay put, at least for the time being. There is plenty to do indoors anyway. I am still up to my ears in boxes of apples and green tomatoes, and worst of all, what seems like an endless supply of rather large zucchinis. I don’t know what it is, but there always seems to be way more of these monstrous darlings left over at the end of the summer than any ordinary person can deal with, let alone eat.

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Although I had not really intended this blog to be all about food, it seems to be going in that direction. I suppose that is what happens when one grows a garden and there are only two humans to eat the results. Of course there is always the compost heap, or the chickens, but my Motley Crew of fowl, now reduced to only five in number, could not possibly get their beaks around the excess supply of overgrown courgettes lounging around on the back porch.

I hate waste, especially when it involves food. So what to do with the spare stuff? Certain things go into the freezer, like salmon and venison and berries. There is a bit of a battle about freezer space that goes on around here; we must use up the berries soon to make room for the incoming meat later in the fall. That is not a problem; I can always turn those little jewels into juice or syrup or jam when the time comes.

The green tomatoes, apples and zeppelin-ish zukes will inevitably be made into chutney or relish of one sort or another, bottled in glass jars and put away on the pantry shelves. Gradually, over the next year or two the jars will be brought out and opened and the tasty condiments will be served inside a sandwich at lunchtime or alongside a supper main dish such as curry, roasted venison or a casserole.

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Island Golden Glow Pickle with Cheese on Toast for lunch…

Here follows a trio of recipes in case you happen to have some extra apples, green tomatoes or zucchinis hanging around just waiting to be used up. After all, today is a perfect day to be indoors making chutney. Continue reading “Pass The Chutney Please….”

More about Drying

a few more details about the process…

The harvest continues here on the island as the temperatures gradually drop and the season changes before our eyes. Summer is really over now. The maple and alder trees are dropping their autumn leaves and the baring limbs stand in stark contrast to the deep green backdrop of the thick coniferous forest behind our house.

I’ve been busy putting the garden to bed for the winter. The last of the tomatoes have been picked, despite still being as green as grass. They will ripen gradually over time, set out on the counter in the cool laundry room at the back of the house. The garlic has been planted in between the rain storms and I finally got around to picking the last of the apples yesterday, filling a large box with lovely crisp, tart-sweet, yellowish green apples from our orchard.

Garlic being planted with organic fertilizer in shallow trenches.

In my last post I wrote about my drying experiments using excess produce from the garden along with the heat from our woodstove. At least one reader indicated interest in the process, so I thought I would share a few more details of my current pastime. Continue reading “More about Drying”

Harvest Time in the 25th Garden…

dscn5633It has been a while since my last post. Sounds like holy confession. The problem is that there is a glut of things to write about and I am having trouble picking one topic and sticking to it. Like most things in life, not just blog posts.

This year I grew my 25th vegetable garden at home here on the island. I can hardly believe that figure; have I really been planting a kitchen garden for a quarter of a century! Am I allowed to swear on a blog! I could write entirely about the garden and never mention anything else in my life, but really, the garden is just one aspect of this island life, though I do spend a lot of my time engaged in it one way or another. Today I am going to narrow it down to a fraction of that aspect, and tell you a little bit about the harvest of my garden, this particular autumn. Continue reading “Harvest Time in the 25th Garden…”