Growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables ensures that they’ll be at their very best when it comes to eating them moments after they have been picked or dug up. Flavour, texture and nutritional value are all at their peak when produce is fresh-picked or harvested. Generally it works out that you can leave your food plants growing until you need to take produce from them – this guarantees that all-important freshness. There are many vegetables – like carrots, beetroot, leeks and parsnips that store well in the ground. Others such as pumpkins and potatoes can be stored for months indoors with the right handling. Apples, garlic and onions too have a good ‘shelf life’. Some harvests are a more of a glut and a time for feasting – grapes, avocados, feijoas and asparagus are all delicious fresh. However, with the right recipes even these fresh treats can be transformed into a resourceful long- term food store by freezing, preserving and pickling. The most important thing of all is knowing when plants and produce are ready and how best to harvest them.
These delicious, tangy fruits ripen in autumn and winter and can go from plae green to rich ripe red in about a week. They are ripe when they develop their full, rich colour - either a deep, dark red or golden orange/yellow depending on variety. Pick fruit individually – cutting stems with secateurs. Once picked, tamarillos will become sweeter after a week or so – if they are allowed to sit around for that long. Cutting them across the middle and scooping out the sweet pulp with a spoon is the generally preferred option but where tools are absent you can score the skin with your thumbnail and prize fruit apart in the middle. The delicious pulp can then be squeezed into a hungry mouth. Tamarillos are used to make jams, juices, chutneys, sauces fruit salads and preserves. They make a superb crumble ingredient either on their own or mixed with a little apple.more
Feijoas add a thrill at the start of the colder months with a flavor that is full of summer sweetness. They actually ripen in autumn and winter depending on variety. Fruit fall when ripe but this can result in bruising and poor quality. Plants are often shaken with a tarp on the ground beneath them to catch fruit and cushion their fall. Alternatively you can pick fruit individually by hand – try and pick when they yield slightly rather than feeling as hard as bullets. Once picked, feijoas will become sweeter after a day or so – if they are allowed to sit around for that long. Feijoas are used to make cakes and muffins as well as juices, wines and preserves. Once picked, feijoas will remain good for about a week or so depending on their ripeness when they were harvested. Cutting them across the middle and scooping out the sweet pulp with a spoon is the generally preferred option but where tools are absent you can score the skin with your thumbnail and prize fruit apart in the middle. The delicious pulp can then be squeezed into a hungry mouth.more
Passionfruit ripen in summer and autumn and sometimes this delicious bounty goes into winter depending on variety. Passionfruit are ready when they have turned from green to a dark brownish purple or orangey yellow – depending on variety. Ripeness is further indicated when skin can starts to shrivel slightly and appears furrowed. Fruit will fall when ripe but its best if you pick them individually by hand from the vine. Snip them off with a short length of stem. Passionfruit continue to ripen when off the vine and sweetness can improve after a week - depending on the readiness of fruit when they were picked. Store them at room temperature. Cutting them across the middle and scooping out the sweet pulp with a spoon is the generally preferred option but where tools are absent you can score the skin with your thumbnail and prize fruit apart in the middle.more
We make between 80 to 120 liters of fish stock a week at Fleur’s, it is the base for many of our dishes including our seafood chowder, hot pots and fish pies. Our actual fish chowder has a fresh Bouquet Garni added to the stock.
During the 27 years when I lived in Clyde I think I discovered every single Quince tree in the district. It was one of the many pleasures of living in this rugged area that the miners & pioneering orchardists left the fruit of their labours for us to inherit. Each old stone cottage had it’s special story to be told through it’s home garden and their orchard. The miners lettuce, the thyme & the 100 year old trees, apples, quinces, elder, walnuts, japonica apples, almonds (the first to blossom each year) the rose hip now growing wild all over the hills. In places such as Conroy’s Gully, Blackman’s Road, Tinker’s, Dry Bread Road, Miner’s Lane & so many more. Beautiful quince do not keep so well but I try to keep bowls of them around for as long as possible as they just smell so good.