Blackberries and greenberries aka Morelle verte (Solanum opacum)
The harvest is so bountiful this year. It’s no surprise really, considering the weather we’ve had. Dry and hot, then wet, followed again by heat. The plants love it. I collected enough herbs from our community garden plot yesterday to cover the kitchen floor. Literally. I then spent hours preparing it all to preserve by varying methods. Let’s just say, we’re not going to be short on herbs this winter.
If you’re looking for a way to use up some of those baseball bat-sized zucchinis, I highly recommend this zucchini bread recipe from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks. It is a revelation. We’ve made it several times, altering the optional ingredients, and it comes out perfect and incredibly delicious every single time. I will never use another zucchini bread recipe again. Go make some now. You will not regret it.
I made this last batch using a giant roll of cinnamon I brought back from Dominica. Look at the size of it against a typical supermarket piece! In fact, the small, locally purchased piece is probably not cinnamon, but cassia, a cinnamon substitute more commonly found in North American supermarkets. Grinding that big piece of cinnamon was very satisfying, the smell so wonderfully sweet and aromatic. I love that every time I use this spice — which judging by the size of it will be for a very long time — I will be taken back to our trip.
What are you making with your bounty?
Click on the image to see full-size.
The other day I showed a few stitched panoramas taken of the Yardshare Garden using an iphone and an app called AutoStitch.
Today’s photo was taken in mt friend Barry’s backyard.
One of my favourite features in his garden this summer are the ‘Mahogany’ nasturtiums that have been going gangbusters since June (right side). Their deep red blooms look so good against all of the chartreuse foliage in that corner.
Back in June I wrote in my Globe & Mail column about growing beans. Within the piece I mentioned a favorite pole variety ‘Trionfo Violetto.’ It’s been years since I have grown this particular variety and now that the plants are in full swing and producing a little crop of beans daily, I can’t understand why I had set it aside and turned to other, inferior varieties for so long.
First are the dark, pinky-purple flowers depicted in the photo, above. And the way they are set off against the green foliage with a hint of burgundy that almost seems to be applied with a water-color brush.
All of this accented against slender, dark stems, and long, thin, purple beans that are delicious fresh off the vine. I can buy all manner of green beans at my local Farmers’ Market, but the French fillet-style beans are less popular and cost a small fortune.
Stunning, prolific, and delicious. Next year I will double my planting efforts and stop trying with other less interesting varieties.
This article and the accompanying recipes originally appeared in print in the Globe & Mail on September 5, 2009. I thought I’d repost it here today since the season is so ahead this year and my large, indeterminate tomato plants are on the verge of a first round of ripening. CAN NOT WAIT! If you’re in a warmer climate, you’re probably enjoying them already and wondering how to use up the extras that are quickly rotting in a bowl and breeding fruit flies on your kitchen counter.
Perhaps that was not the image I should have left you with. Now I am obsessing about my own bowl of small tomatoes and the fruit fly colony I am potentially raising as I write this.
[At which point I did get up to go inspect my bowl of fruit that was in fact housing one rotting tomato and a few fruit flies.]
The article below includes some brief canning instruction and three recipes: Gayla’s definitive green tomato chutney, Superior heirloom tomatoes, and Old-fashioned tomato ketchup.
If you’re itching to dive in further, I’ve included more detailed instructions in my book Grow Great Grub: Organic Food From Small Spaces, along with a few extra recipes.
The Ball and Bernardin (in Canada) books are highly regarded as the most popular tomes, but I have to admit that I find them a bit dull and have never made a single recipe from these books. I personally recommend Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. Her writing is conversational and entertaining, and is written from the perspective of a New York apartment dweller with real-world ingredients and realistic, small-batch quantities. I do not have a copy nor have I read it, but someone brought a copy of Canning & Preserving with Ashley English to my spring canning class and on a quick flip-through it looked very thorough, inviting and engaging.
I’m practically writing another article here, but since I’m on the subject, there are three contemporary British canning books that I would also highly recommend: Jellies, Jams & Chutneys, Preserves (This is the copy I have but it is listing at $206!!), and Fruits of the Earth The recipes are a bit more unusual than the stuff I have found in American books, using ingredients and combinations I had never thought to try.
I ordered these bulbs from Garden Import back in the early spring and put them outside after the last frost. Low and behold it grew, and the flowers opened up just this past weekend. Coincidentally, their Fall catalog arrived at the same time. I spent some time flipping through it last night, oohing and awing at the many bulbs I’d love to buy and grow.
When I threatened to make a list of everything I want from the catalog, Davin suggested I make one called, “All the Plants I Will Not Be Buying This Fall.”
Coral Drops, (Bessera elegans) is a Mexican flowering bulb plant with very delicate flowers that dance and bob on thin stems. The bulbs are very tiny and the leaves are thin, making them a good choice for container growing. I grew my set in a pot on the roof and gave the remaining bulbs to a friend who is also growing them in a container with very gritty, well-draining soil.
I planted 7 bulbs in a pot that is 10″ wide and 8 1/2″ deep, a few more than the recommended number for a pot of that size. In hindsight I was too safe and feel I could have pushed it and put all 10 bulbs into that pot for a tighter display. Regardless, they look great and I’m really glad I allowed myself to splash out on this and a few other non-edibles this year. There are all kinds of nourishment, and this one was for my eyes, not my stomach.
Here’s what it looks like when you flip it upside down. You can really see the strange purple pistil and green pollen.
A flower that is just opening and some buds.