First eggplant...

21 March, 2012

This year the summer veg have missed their peak, and seem to be mostly fruiting now.

Last night I picked the first of the eggplant for dinner (along with the first corn of my last sowing and a baby Sugar Baby watermelon which was very conveniently one-person-dessert-sized).

The eggplant are a variety called Listada di Gandia, which I find bitter if they are picked when a bit older, but delicious when a bit on the young side. Their purple and white stripes are gorgeous, but disappear when cooked. That said they made some excellent eggplant chips!

The capsicums and peppers are just starting to set fruit, and hopefully these will mature before autumn completely takes over the temperature control.

Long weekend harvest...

14 March, 2012

I've been a bit pre-occupied with various Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events, so the blogging has been replaced by eating (and drinking) some very nice foodstuffs.

But with the long weekend thanks to the Labour Day holiday I've still managed to get some time in the garden.

The pickings included basil (soon to be made into pesto), zucchini, squash, golden beetroot, carrots, parsley and onions (for ravioli soup) and figs (for friends - I don't like figs much...) from the two remaining fig trees.

Feels like a mini festival event at home!

Culling the rhubarb...

04 March, 2012

Today was the first day in a week that I've been able to potter around the garden without getting soaked or needing an umbrella, which feels slightly odd as well as making harvesting more difficult when one hand is required to hold the umbrella and ensure you don't get soaked.

But while doing my morning meander I was getting very wet ankles from plants leaning over the paths, and the prime offender was the rhubarb.

I have a few sorts of rhubarb in the garden; a very green one, a somewhat red one, and one that is very, very red.

And as it was a pottering sort of day I thought I'd get out the fowlers vacola unit and do some preserving.

But first a lot of washing and chopping was required. Once done, the rhubarb was put into my massive jam making pot and enough sugar to cover was added.

The trick I've been told is to cover the rhubarb with just enough sugar to coat all the pieces and then let it sit until the sugar draws out the liquid.

This supposedly takes away the tongue-puckering-ness that rhubarb can have. I've never done any objective testing, both with pre-sugaring and without, but it seems to work well nevertheless.

Once the liquid has been drawn out you can cook the rhubarb any way you like. I like to add lemon juice for extra tartness, and then cook without stirring so the pieces stay whole as much as possible. The cooked rhubarb was then bottled and processed in the FV unit for 10 minutes.

Now I will have stewed rhubarb for on porridge, and in cakes, and with custard, and in apple and rhubarb crumble for the many cold months to come.