It’s that time of year when it is less about growing things and more about finding ways to make the harvest last into the colder months.
I’ve got about 40lt of milk in the freezer, which would be more than enough to keep me in cheese and yogurt until kidding starts again in July. But with two does still milking it looks like we will avoid an off-season and avoid buying milk through winter. I will be pretty pleased if that turns out to be the case.
I’ve put 1kg of zucchini and some red capsicum into sweet pickles, and sent my sister home today with enough zucchini to make her own batch.
The tomatoes from the greenhouse, along with some green capsicums, have gone into a great salsa.
I’ve ended up with half a dozen nice big pumpkins, these will keep us in pumpkin soup for the winter. I’ll probably roast some alongside some home-grown chicken in a few weeks. Pumpkins have a great shelf-life and there are so many different recipes that you can include them in.
My carrots developed a bug and I had to harvest them early. This was a bit sad, as they were growing straight and true and would have been an impressive harvest in a few weeks. They still made a great carrot soup. Some of this will be frozen for later use.
The secret ingredient for this soup is bacon. It adds a saltiness that balances the sweetness of the carrots. A generous amount of garlic gives it a good depth of flavour. Like most soups, it is really easy to make.
Carrot and bacon soup
2-3 stalks of celery
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop up onion and bacon. Fry lightly in olive oil. Add garlic.
Add chopped carrots, potato and celery.
Add water, salt and pepper. Boil lightly until all vegetables are soft.
Use a stick blender or similar to process the soup. You may like to add some more water if the soup is thicker than you like.
I’ve still got a few things that are yet to finish growing. My capsicums just keep yielding like champions in the greenhouse, and with a bit of luck I might get some actual fruit from the Amish Paste tomatoes that are in the garden. The apples will be ready to pick soon, and some of these I will for winter puddings. Most I will juice for an attempt at whole-juice cider. My second run of corn, planted after the first run got completely nuked by the hot weather, is still in progress too.
And of course it is the time to think about garden projects for next year. The new netted garden has a buried watering system and plenty of space to try a few different things that need protection from the birds. I want to allocate an area to citrus trees, transplant the ones I already have to a better spot and perhaps add another couple of varieties. I would love to get another greenhouse built too, which would greatly increase my capacity to grow tomatoes and allow me to preserve a meaningful amount as passata.
It is a lot of work, but I enjoy the challenge almost as much as the rewards. If my new kitchen and pantry become reality this year I will have a great place to work in and store produce in for the future.