How to Harvest

Persimmon

equipment bare hands, secatuers

Depending on variety and weather harvest is usually from autumn into winter. Trees look very attractive as they lose their leaves and retain fruit. Fruit are ready as they change colour form yellow to orange. Hand pick fruit with secateurs, cutting the stem close to each fruit so that they come away with their calyx (leaf-like crown attached to top of fruit). Cold climate astringent varieties are picked when they start to soften and then ripened off the tree to full flavour and softer texture. Warmer climate, non-astringent varieties are picked like apples when they have fully coloured. Their flavour improves with a few days’ of being stored at room temperature. Handle fruit carefully when harvesting to prevent bruising. Line your bucket or basket with soft material such as cloth or newspaper.

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How to Harvest

Avocado

equipment Bare hands and secateurs or strong scissors. Backpack or sturdy cloth bag.

Avocados mature but do not ripen on the tree—they have to be picked to transform from bullet to buttery texture. Fruit are picked when they reach the size and skin colour indicated by their variety and they are still hard. Collect those that you can reach individually by hand, using a pair of secateurs or strong scissors to cut a short stem with each fruit. Place them in a soft, cloth bag or backpack as you collect them. You can get long-handled picking poles that come with a small mesh sack for collecting fruit higher up. Fruit ripened at room temperature should be ready for eating within 4 days. To get them to ripen, lay fruit on their side and remove the stalk – this tells them they have left the tree, are on the ground and its time to ripen. Alternatively allow them to lie on their side with the short stalk in tact, this will dislodge easily or fall off when fruit are ripe. Placing picked avocados inside a paper bag with a ripe banana can speed the process. Avocados should be picked every few days as and when you need them. They will not store for all that long once they are ripe, avocados go soft and pulpy in just a matter of days.

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How to Harvest

Grapefruit

equipment Bare hands, secateurs or strong scissors, fruit picker on pole

Grapefruits can usually be harvested between mid winter and spring. Fruit are ripe when they turn fully yellow or pale orange (depending on variety) and soften slightly. Press gently at the centre of top or bottom, fruit should give slightly when they are ready. Fruit do not ripen off the tree so wait till they dislodge with a gentle twist. You can snip them with secateurs if you are sure they are ready. Ripe grapefruits can stay on the tree for several weeks before picking. Fallen grapefruits are likely to be bruised and they’ll not last long so use them straightaway. To get fruit from higher up on the tree you can either shake to dislodge (watch your head!) but fruit will be bruised as they hit the ground so should be eaten or juiced immediately. Alternatively use a fruit picker on an extendable pole – these can be bought from garden centres.

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SEASONAL RECIPES

Creme Brulee with Roasted Rhubarb

Everyone loves crème brulee and the rhubarb is a fantastic foil to the richness of the custard. This is a very popular dessert at The Refreshment Room, and rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits. A great winter standby and dead easy to grow in the garden.

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SEASONAL RECIPES

Fennel & Parmesan Gratin

Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables and if you plant in the early autumn, you should have a steady supply over the winter. This is a great accompaniment to slow cooked meats or just a general side dish. Fennel has a beautiful, gentle aniseed flavour. Its versatility means it can be eaten cooked or raw and is easy to grow.

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