Monday, 7 July 2014

Pick your own

With the veg garden now in full swing and summer fully upon us there is an abundance of fruit and veg just waiting to be picked. At the moment we are enjoying a glut of early courgettes in the polytunnel and lettuces, broad beans and radishes from in the garden. Over the next week or so our early potatoes will be lifted and on the veg patch the pods of peas are quickly filling up with the runner beans beginning to blossom and squashes of all varieties starting to show.

However the real star at this time of year is the Great British strawberry. This year my eyes have really been opened to the huge number of different varieties available and also the huge difference in taste that comes with them. The outstanding taste of eating something that is truly in season is second to none.

Despite all this home grown veg some plants are still maturing. My strawberry patch was only planted this year and apart from picking and eating the odd strawberry on the way past there's not too much on offer. Luckily for us there is a fantastic pick your own farm just ten minutes away. We passed last week and saw signs for strawberries and raspberries, of course we had to go.

On arrival this week strawberries and raspberries were still available but newly in season were gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and potatoes.

We came away with 1.5kg of strawberries and about half of that in gooseberries; Of course plenty got eaten on the way round choosing the ripest and juiciest ones for the basket.

All of this came to ten pounds which for locally, hand picked and chosen fruit is a bargain. Some of them are up there with the very best strawberries I have ever had and others were completely new tastes to me.

So what do you do you do when you've been eating strawberries all day and still have a mountain of them left? Make jam of course!

A quick browse through some cookbooks brought up some recipes for both strawberry and gooseberry preserves. Being my first attempt at jam making like so many other things I have done since I have moved here the guidance was greatly appreciated. It was remarkably simple and took no time at all. As yet they remain untasted but they seem to have set well and certainly look the part.

We're already planning to make another trip next week to supplement the veg patch and make the most of these glorious fruits while they are in season.

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