Editor ponders the many and varied uses of a seasonal garden glut
How was your weekend? Much on? Lunch out, you say? A mooch around a farmer’s market? Sounds lovely. Me? Well, we can safely say it was productive. Relaxing, no. Productive to the point of self-professed saintdom? Yes, I think we can say that.
For what else is to be said for two long days peeling, coring, quartering and stewing apples and pears; transforming plums into jam; and painstakingly picking over, washing and thoroughly drying blackberries before creating perfect frozen versions of themselves to be reawoken at a future date and transformed from summer stunners to winter warmers.
Regular readers will know that I am a great believer in nature’s free bounty. I am there with the best of them harvesting woodland and hedgerow for seasonal delights, and friends with overloaded fruit trees come to my door laden with their glut, safe in the knowledge that when they next come for Sunday lunch, they will likely enjoy it served in crumble or pie.
Yet, dear reader, and I say this with a heavy heart, while I thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my labour, I am at that time of year when I am past the point of enjoying the work that goes into all this peeling, coring, freezing and preserving.
‘Just wash, dry and freeze them – it’s easy!’ I chirrup at friends who complain of their blackberries going bad. But there’s no ‘just’ about it when you’ve got sackfuls of the things and you’re having to spend the whole of Sunday afternoon meticulously picking them over, fighting off bugs and caterpillars, only to spend the evening locked in a conveyor belt of trayfuls to be frozen before decanting carefully into numerous bags and boxes for which your freezer has little capacity.
I know, I sound rather more Margot Leadbetter than Barbara Good, but then, truth be told, I am generally more chiffon than denim dungaree. Until, that is, this time next year, when I will again set about the glut with short-lived enthusiasm. I know, I’m a saint…