Squirrelling 

I am torn at the moment, I love the changes this time of year but I HATE the thought of it no longer being summer. The beautiful Welcome Swallows that have graced us with their presence over summer will soon be taking flight.

  
I have been listening to my inner squirrel though and have been busy bottling, cooking, storing and stacking for the winter to come. My first dilemma was how to manage to incredible ‘glut’ of courgettes. Glut seems to be the ultimate bloggers term when discussing what to do with abundant courgettes. Anyway, they have been chopped, blanched and frozen, baked into muffins and loaves, pickled and disguised in every meal of late. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Justin and Luca get up one morning with giant yellow flowers on their heads. 

It is nothing new about growing and then preserving food (you could say it’s been around forever) but there is something so deeply satisfying about doing it. My hits so far have been Beetroot relish, Artichoke hearts and Tomatoes dried by the sun. 

  

Trick for young players (I would like to consider myself young, despite how I feel some mornings) orange Beetroot=brown chutney, not so appealing but still tasty.
Artichoke hearts have a bad reputation and they shouldn’t. I found them so easy to do and so delicious, the jar is nearly finished already. My only key lesson is I didn’t quite peel them down far enough and wasn’t brutal enough trimming them with the knife. But next time around it will be easy! Here is the recipe I followed and highly recommend

http://hortuscuisine.com/blog/2014/04/28/make-artichoke-hearts-preserved-olive-oil-carciofini-sottolio/
  
The sun dried tomatoes was an experiment which turned out so well I’m onto my third batch, I’m just running out of sun. 

I used freshly picked cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half. Toss them in salt and olive oil (nothing specific I’m sorry just a good coating). Space them out evenly on a tray to allow air circulation, cover them with a mesh or thin muslin to keep the cheeky bugs at bay and after 4-5 days in the marlborough sun you will have little red shrivelled parcels of amazing. I put them in a clean jar and topped it up with olive oil. I didn’t bother sterilising the jar since the tomatoes were far from sterile and would be consumed instantly. 

  
The corn is now finished and has been pulled and fed out, I have replenished the soil with the abundant manure around our property and planted some winter brassicas. I felt that green midget was quite a fitting name for the broccoli, given my garden assistant. 

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