We simply couldn’t eat them fast enough, those soft, scarlet globes of goodness. Something had to be done because there was no way I was going to watch the mountain of gloriously ripe tomatoes slowly sink into a mushy, fetid puddle and I didn’t want to give them all away just yet.
Mum’s old Vacola bottling unit
Tomato ketchup and bottled tomatoes
However, ripe, organic tomatoes I’ve found also help grease the wheels of commerce with a little welcome baggy given to Nigel Thompson from Earth and Water who we called back to fix the pump YET AGAIN. We gave tomatoes and cucumbers to a mate who had lent us some camping gear for our recent holiday and received rapturous appreciation. A heavy bag was given to my favourite neighbour whose daughter Niamh goo-ed and gaa-ed over the tomatoes and scoffed the lot.
It feels great to share the love.
We’ve had a glut of lemons, oranges, grapefruit, silverbeet and leek (the last of the season) plus endless mulberries and strawberries at Edgefield of late. So I’ve been channelling Martha Stewart and doing some serious homesteading, in my spare time, of which I seem to have very little these days! A friend who came up for lunch recently after looking at my vegie garden asked: “Where do you find the time?” And I was kinda stuck for an answer and eventually said: “I make time.” I’ve been thinking about that ever since. When not working (as in paid work) or actively looking after the kids and cooking, I am ALWAYS outside in the garden. Sometimes I wonder what people without a garden / property do with all their spare time! RELAX I’m sure, read books, have hobbies, exercise, etc. I find I go in waves of enthusiasm for all the gardening and property maintenance. While I definitely enjoy it, sometimes it’s just plain tedious, hard work and I wonder why I’ve made such a rod for my own back. I’m not very good at finding balance in this area but I’m working on it.
So anyway, we have a freezer and fridge full of produce at the moment, which is awesome, and I’ve been focusing my meals as much as possible around my available garden produce. It certainly makes for a different mindset when you’re thinking about the evening meal.
- Lemon ice cubes and frozen lemon quarters
- Lemon cordial
- Lemon butter
- Preserved lemons
- Lemon tart
- Orange, lemon and grapefruit juice
- Strawberry jam
- Mulberry jam
- Mulberry icecream
- Bags of frozen chopped up silverbeet and leek
- Lots of silverbeet and leek in vegie bakes, lasagne, stirfrys, etc
Oh! And we’re finally eating the bunch of bananas that I’ve been patiently waiting to ripen for over a year now. They are magnificent! Creamy, soft and full of flavour – delicious! And there’s another bunch forming too, yay.
Lemon butter, mulberry and strawberry jam, orange juice and bags of silverbeet ready for freezing.
The nice thing about preserving is that while yes it’s a lot of work, you enjoy it for such a long time afterwards. We still have 1/2 dozen jars of marmalade in the pantry from Jeff’s last attempt to break the back of the overwhelming amount of citrus (it didn’t even make a dent.) I won’t be buying jam for a long time either, and it’s a lovely thing to give away. No-one says no to homemade strawberry jam, yum!
Anyway, it’s Sunday and I have a fence to take down and reticulation to fix so best be off…