Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Feeling peachy and full of beans...

Harvests come and go and when you grow the majority of your own fruit and vegetables or forage fruits and nuts, you cannot delay harvesting or processing; if you do you risk losing them to the animals or to nature.
 


In Asturias we have a wild peach called Piesco that produces small fruits which have a strong peachy taste but once ripe, do not last. If the rain comes their skins spoil and the insects and birds can soon devastate the crop. Knowing when to harvest is paramount. The reason we use these wild peaches is because of their wonderful flavour and they are perfect for making jams, chutneys and for dehydrating. A kind neighbour lets us have their crop of piescos that grow on one of their fields as they don't use them and they know how much we love them. 4kg of them were used to make jam and a further 6kg were chopped and frozen for use either for jam or chutney. They freeze well and it is a great way to preserve as much as the crop as possible before they spoil, especially if you don't have the time to use them straight away. We will collect more this week for dehydrating; they make a great snack for when out walking.



The beans have just been harvested and just in time. The recent heavy rains has caused some damage to the outer pod but fortunately this has not spread to the beans inside. We quickly shelled them and have left them to dry for a few days in the sun after which they will be frozen as is for 24 hours, re dried and stored. The freezing part was a tip from a neighbour who tells us that it destroys any lingering bugs or bacteria and therefore they last much longer and in better condition. It works for us.


Elsewhere we are just about to harvest our first tomatoes which is always a treat. We still have lots of basil left so plenty of scope for some Italian inspired tomato based dishes. On the list of things to do this week include: making piccalilli, chopping wood, extending the stone skirt to the garage, beginning to thin out and weed the garden....enough already.


What are you currently harvesting and what jobs are taking up your time during September?

9 comments:

  1. Great post, those peaches look lovely, I remember you writing about them before. I find peach jam difficult to keep for very long, so rarely make it. Good tip about the bean freezing, will give that a go next year. Harvesting lots of kale at the moment, tomatoes very late and slow here, but first time with a polytunnel, so it's all learning :) Still got potatoes too, and had the last of the strawberries yesterday
    x

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    1. Thanks Mrs L - the bean thing is realy useful. Our potatoes are very early and Toms very late this year.

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  2. That sounds an eminently sensible tip with the beans.
    Wish we could grow wild peaches here in Ayrshire!! Still, the blackberries are just coming ripe, and we did have a good crop of wild cherries in June

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    1. I love wild cherries but it is always a race between us and the birds....

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  3. We failed with our peaches this year. Picking lots of tomatoes, French beans, peas and courgettes , purple sprouting broccoli carrots, swede, lots of lettuce and cucumbers, great crop of garlic again, all the potatoes have been lifted and the first of the autumn cauliflowers will be ready at the weekend. I have also made a start on dividing the herbaceous plants but a lot of them are late blooming this year so some of them will have to wait.

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    1. That all sounds great. Thanks for the reminder we also need to lift and divide many of our border plants.

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  4. We have wild peaches too but the skin is white - the fruit is very small and often has scab (speckles on one side of the fruit). If we don't get enough rain the skin is tough and the fruit stay very small - however we are due a load more rain so cross fingers we may have some OK peaches! Here they are usually ripe around 3rd week of September. You have been working hard doing all this with the peaches and the beans. Though I'm really surprised that your tomatoes are so late - I thought you would be ahead or at least the same as here. I've been harvesting them since July (they are outdoor tomatoes) although they are now ripening very slowly with cooler weather. Well anyway, enjoy them, it doesn't matter what month it is really, it's the having them that counts! :-)

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    1. We lost our first crop of tomato plants probably due to leather jackets or something else chopping them at ground level hence the later crop. We don't do well with tomatoes generally as we are so near the coast and the sea mists, combined with the general high humidity is a recipe for blight. We grow under plastic but even so they succumbe eventually.. I hope you peach harvest works out.

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  5. It is true about peaches (and other fruit) not picked in general here in neighbouring Galicia too. If it's not meat, locals are not interested. We see cherries, pears, apples, plums wasted as nobody is bothered to pick them! We nearly cried seeing beautiful large cherries last June drying out in our neighbour's garden, even birds had enough of them. Veg - yes, but fruit are really not the favourites among the Spanish. Fascinating!

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