With so much produce available it could be time to borrow a new cookbook or two from a friend and take inspiration to prepare your harvest in exciting and delicious new ways. February is probably the most productive month in terms of harvesting summer produce with climbing and dwarf beans, tomatoes, zucchini, aubergine, cucumbers, sweet corn, potatoes, delicious soft fruits like raspberries and blueberries, to name but a few, all coming to fruition at once. In most cases, the more you pick the more your plants will continue to produce. Fresh is best and produce not only ripens – almost before our eyes – but it can be over-ripe very quickly if it is missed. So keep and eye on those beans, zucchini and peas.
Quinces ripen from late summer to mid autumn depending on variety. Quinces are hard fruits, they are ready for picking when skin colour lightens and fruit smell fragrant. Handle fruit carefully when harvesting to prevent bruising. Line your bucket or basket with soft material such as cloth or newspaper. Quinces store very well. A frost-free, dark, cool place such as a cellar, garden shed or garage is suitable. Check through your fruit before storing and only select those that are un-blemished and have their stalks in tact. Place fruits in trays and boxes or on slatted shelves. – ideally with no two fruit touching each other. Inspect fruit every week or so for signs of rotting and remove any that are affected. If al goes well they should last right though winter.more
equipment Hands, pitch fork
When the tall stems and foliage start to wilt and die back in autumn, the knobbly-looking tubers are ready for harvest. They can easily be pulled up by gently levering soil beneath plants with a fork. Only dig up what you want to eat at any one time as the tubers go soft within about a week of being lifted from the soil. To store them in the ground, cut down stems to about ankle height and mulch over plants with straw if frosts are forecast. You can then help yourself as you need to.more
Fruit are formed from early spring and plants can remain productive right through summer and autumn into winter – depending on weather conditions. The small lanterns are green when they first form and fruits inside will be unripe and green. Wait till the lanterns turn a papery, pale brown colour and start to dry out. At this stage they can be picked and opened to reveal the ripe orange fruit inside. Regular picking keeps fruit ripening. Remove the papery casings as you harvest. Cape Gooseberries keep for weeks on end when stored in a dry, ventilated container. They can be frozen but when they are defrosted they will collapse and are best used in puddings and jams where they are cooked.more
This fantastic raw fig tart with 'milk chocolate' ganache and an incredible almond date crust. Naturally gluten free full off goodness, this tart is perfectly sweet and wonderfully simple to prepare. I used mascarpone for the filling, but have also included a dairy free version using cashew nuts. If figs aren't your thing, you use pretty much any type of fresh fruit! Enjoy!