The clocks have gone back, so maybe summer is finally over. The harvest should have been safely gathered in, although the recent warm air currents seem to suggest there is still more growing to do. I cleared two of the vegetable beds at the weekend, getting rid of the dead sweet peas and the tired courgettes. The courgettes, like the beans did not do well this summer, perhaps unable to cope with the long dry spell. The sweet peas, similarly, went to seed very rapidly, and the sound of their pods “popping” in the sun were one of the sounds of the summer, for me.
The most prolific vegetable producing area was the greenhouse, where tomatoes went balistic and we are still harvesting green (and red) peppers, with chillis still to come. The sheer volume of tomatoes had me scratching my head for ways of perserving them and I came up with three methods.
First of all, we made ratatouille, using up our own dodgy onions and oversized courgettes with the excellent MLG garlic. When the courgettes and onions were finished (or rotted) we went on to making the first MLG passata, which seemed pretty decent too.
But our most satisfying preserving method was our own sun-dried tomatoes. Well, strictly speaking they were oven-dried, but the results were very pleasing, all be it a little on the small side. I guess it should not be too big a suprise that dried tomatoes take up considerably less volume than the originals, but four baking trays of halved cherry tomatoes only made three jars of the sun-dried version. We swamped them in a little olive oil and loaded them with quartered garlic cloves and the results were spectacular.
Now I include my sun dried tomatoes with everything: ham sandwiches, cheese and biscuits, corn flakes (ok, maybe not corn flakes, although, but then again, why not?)