Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Bounty in the Garden

September seems to be the month when everything ripens at the same time, figs, apples, blackberries and tomatoes. Normally I make loads of chutney with the figs and tomatoes but because I’m using a camping stove to cook, I’ve decided to dice and freeze everything ready for when I have my new cooker. The gas bottle is so small, that cooking chutney for 2 hours will empty it in no time at all. However I have made bramble jelly, but it’s more like bramble coulis, because despite boiling it twice it just wouldn’t set. Never mind, it will be great poured over ice-cream. Also, its a good excuse to go out, pick some more and try again. I’ve also had my first go at canning, with the canning gadget kindly lent to me by my neighbour. After a lot of dicing ,I made a batch of ratatouille which filled 3 1litre jars. To be honest, I’m not overly in love with canning, I think I prefer making chutneys, jams and freezing stuff. Perhaps I’ll give it another go one day.

Do you remember us planting potatoes earlier in the year? Well sadly, we missed the harvesting which was done while we were in the UK. They had to harvest when the weather was good, so grabbed the opportunity when they could. We were told that due to the lack of rain and heat, this years harvest was disappointing. Our 2 bags produced a barrow of spuds, not as many as we’d hoped but they will keep us going for a few months.


Beautiful plump blackberries.


Fallers ready to be sliced and stewed.


Figs chopped, ready to be frozen.


Ratatouille simmering before canning.


  1. Our blackberry harvest is over now....I think the recent rainfall has finished the blackberries off....when I walked along the hedge in our home field the blackberries were blackened stumps! Not to worry, I picked a lot this year and they are all snug in the freezer.

    I haven't frozen figs, I dehydrate them, but we don't have much of a harvest this year and what we do have is being given to the pigs and chickens. We need to ruthlessly prune our biggest fig tree, which is the one which gives us the harvest, because it is too busy growing and putting on lots of leaves. I think it forgets that it is supposed to also put some energy into making figs!

    The ratatouille looks nice. What type of canner were you loaned? A pressure cooker type or a water bath type. I think I have said before that I don't like the water bath canners because they need so much water at such high temperature, so I much prefer to use my pressure cooker, which I had to buy from America because the European pressure cookers do not make enough pressure for safe canning, especially of meat.

    But if you have enough freezer space, then I can understand your preference in wanting to freeze produce. I don't have freezer space even though I have three freezers, so I have to either dehydrate or can.

    Good job with your harvesting efforts this year though!

    1. Our fig tree needs a serious hair cut too. We trimmed all the suckers and dead wood last year, but not the main branches. Big mistake as they are now resting on the grass.
      The canner was the water bath type, but I've been told I can just easily use a casserole with lid, so I'm going to try that for chopped tomatoes.
      Hope to go out and find more blackberries if the rain doesn't kill off ours too x

  2. Like Vera we do not have freezer space, all 3 are full of soups, chillies, cherries and meat. We still have masses of chillies, so when the visitors leave I will make chilli jelly which went down well last time I made it. The two fig trees are loaded but I just have not got the time, so sadly they are rotting and alive with wasps and hornets so dangerous to go near! Once the visitors have left next week (and we are out with the club on Tuesday) the Quince tree will be ready. The tree is loaded so again too many for us, if you fancy making quince jelly you know where to find some quinces!
    We have not dug our potatoes yet as we planted late,as soon as we get a dry spell I will see what is there. Many pumpkins and butternuts this year they have done well. Have planted winter leeks and so far they look fine!!
    Have a good day Diane xx

    1. We've recently bought another freezer for our produce and its filling up fast.
      I remember one year Roger planted what I thought were loads of pepper plants, but alas not, we had masses of chillies. So this year we have one and that's plenty. x

    2. We have one freezer drawer full of chillies in the freezer and enough on the plants for another one!! Now all the visitors have gone I will make the chilli jelly and sauces. As for canning....... I cook the tomatoes and onions up and bottle them the same as I do jams, hot into hot jars,they bottle well and I have had them like that for a couple of years, ratatouille the same. xx

    3. So for the tomatoes and ratatouille, you don't boil them in a canner for an hour. If that's right, it would save a lot of time x

    4. Sorry still trying to catch up after visitors. No I just cook them in the saucepan, and bottle them into hot jars like I do jam, close them tightly as you go. Never had either go off on me yet!! xx

    5. Will try this as I've still got loads to harvest x

  3. We are in the UK at the moment. In our little corner of rural Staffordshire the blackberry harvest is at it's peak. This means fresh backberries at breakfast every morning, picked as we walk my brother's dog. I made some spicy apple, peach and onion chutney last week but haven't done much else.
    Your fig chutney is delicious! xx

    1. Glad you like the fig chutney, its definitely our favourite so far. I like the sound of your spicy apple chutney, may I have the recipe please? x


Thank you for leaving your comments.