Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Harvest Monday - autumnal

Well, I was coming in late with this week's post as I'd spent yesterday evening peeling chestnuts. But then after writing the whole thing it disappeared, so this second time round I will be a bit more brief!
With all the strong winds, my remaining courgette plant looked worse for wear, so I picked the last few fruits rather than lose them to rot. The ends had gone a bit soft so I cut them off, but the rest was good.
One of my green butter nuts was later to grow and ripen than the others, and the end of it had started to rot (in the shed where I was curing it), so I cut that bit off, which still left a large fruit.
You can see where it wasn't cured properly yet, the flesh is pale at the stalk end still. It had a lovely sweet aroma though.
Yesterday I picked some chard and kale. These particular chard leaves were from plants which self germinated in the compost mulch around the raspberries. They're much more lush than other plants around the plot so just shows the benefit of a good mulch.
At home I bottled up the apple cider vinegar (simply apple peel, cores and water) that had been fermenting in large jars on the kitchen worktop. After straining off the solids, there were four bottles altogether- these two were actually a similar colour, it's come out a bit pink in the photo. They should darken over time too. The flavour is quite sweet as they were dessert apples. As you can see from the bottles, Jan has been enjoying an occasional G and T.
I'd bought a lovely organic red cabbage from Folland Oragnics on Norwich Market, so looked for recipes to combine it with sweet chestnuts, and found this one - score, roast and peel the chestnuts, slice the red onion and cabbage thinly (my own red onion), cook it down a bit with sugar and water and lots of spices, then add the chestnuts and chopped apple.
It took most of Sunday afternoon to make but luckily was very tasty!
I wanted to cook up the rest of the chestnuts yesterday and looked up an easier to peel method, and found this one - slice nuts, bring to a simmer in hot water, roast in oven and then put in a covered bowl to steam. It sounds faffy but was quite easy really, apart from all the peeling...I think the skins came off a lot easier with this method but I should have prepared them in smaller batches as there wasn't an even cook across the lot. I didn't get any photos either but the link above had some helpful instructions and pics.
Earlier in the week these peppers in the lean-to were still a bit green...
But by Saturday they'd fully ripened..
Such a nice colour...
After quartering them I sliced them and froze the slices across three freezer bags, for using later. Ideally I'd not use plastic bags but my freezer is pretty full and the bags were easy to squeeze in. I also need more of those glass tubs (well, Christmas is coming up, hint hint).
Also from the lean-to we've been enjoying winter salads, growing in the old tomato pots. The last few days we've had coriander leaf, winter purslane and sweet rocket in our sarnies.
Finally a shot of the smaller winter squashes, currently occupying the kitchen shelves...there are cream of the crop, sweet dumpling and blue kuri. Almost too pretty to eat but I'm sure I'll force myself. I'm planning on taking a pic of all the squashes together at some point, including the monsters but I'll have to shift things around. It'll be good to see them together though.

Thanks for reading, I'm linking in late with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.



  1. I love your blog, it is really inspiring, thank you. I shall be attempting apple cider vinegar now, and as we have both chestnuts and red cabbage....
    Looking forward to next week's entry

    1. Ah thanks Kathy, that's really kind of you! There are various methods for making cider vinegar that I've read about but this is a super-easy one. I've also made it with added honey before (honey kick-starts the ferment) but as honey is quite expensive I gave this one a try - seems pretty good so far.
      With the cabbage recipe, just make sure you allow plenty of time for chestnut prep! The actual cooking time isn't very long. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Those peppers ripened up quite nicely! I'll have a few to bring in this week too as a freeze is predicted for the weekend. That's a lovely bunch of squashes there too. I only got one sweet dumpling this year, but it looks like yours were more productive.

    1. Thanks Dave, the peppers were on a high shelf so I think that helped with the ripening / amount of light reaching them.
      I had a few sweet dumpling plants but only got 1 - 2 fruits per plant. So I think it was just volume of plants that made the difference.

  3. Our courgettes have been failures this year but our red cabbages have been great.

    1. Hi sue, I did ok with courgettes (one plant being particularly good). I've only tried red cabbages once, but they didn't really heart up, and the ones on the organic stall at the market are lovely, so I've decided not to use up space trying to grow them myself at the moment. Maybe again in the future!

  4. Dear Lou,

    My name is Ola, and I help to write the blog at Thompson and Morgan, the seed company. We’re doing a special feature about vegetable growing blogs and came across yours. I particularly enjoyed your article about your autumnal harvest and if it’s OK with you, I’d like to include your blog in our piece.

    We’d like to mention this blog post:


    The Thompson & Morgan blog attracts a large readership and you’ll be featured alongside some top bloggers, all of whom write with style and authority.

    We’re hoping to publish the post soon; would it be alright if we use a picture to accompany the write-up of your blog?

    We’re thinking of featuring this photo:


    It goes without saying that we’ll credit and link, both the photo and our review of your blog, to your page, and I’ll be sure to let you know when we make this piece live.

    Should you have any queries, please do let me know - I’ll be happy to help.

    Many thanks,


    Thompson & Morgan blog

    1. Hi Ola, many thanks for your message, I'm really pleased to hear you like my blog. Yes, do please go ahead and include it in your post, it sounds really exciting, best wishes, Lou