Looking Forward ~ Thinking Back

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winter garden

winter garden

Looking out at the stark landscape which only a few months ago was a dense mass of tangled greenery, it requires a certain leap of faith to believe that the earth will turn and the land become a benign, benevolent garden once again.

Tomatoes ripened off in January

Unripened tomatoes

Unripened tomatoes gathered in October

At this time of year, any small link to gentler times is a gift and tonight’s supper was certainly a tasty reminder of the wonderful garden I have the privilege of tending; pasta sauce made from the last of the tomatoes I have been ripening off since last October. Several of the cherry tomato plants went in way late and then dawdled along producing massively healthy vines but not leaving themselves enough time to ripen. By the time of first frost they were loaded with green fruit, so green in fact that I doubted they would ripen, but bagged and stored in a cold room over time they did, with almost no waste. Perhaps not as sweet tasting as straight off the vine but way better than store bought, and the sauce, it was delicious.

NOTE: I used several brown paper lunch bags, rather than one large brown bag to store the fruit in. These enabled me to sort the fruit into various stages of ripeness and also eliminated excessive weight on the fruit. I also reminded myself to check the fruit regularly in order to remove any ripened or moulding fruit. If one tomato develops mold or turns soft it can ruin all the surrounding ones as well. This I have learnt the hard way in previous years.

Another gift from Summer is the Blackcurrant jam. I love its tangy sweetness as well as the fact it reminds me of my childhood days in England. Blackcurrant bushes were ubiquitous there and the juice was considered a great cure for colds because of the super high vitamin C content. I don’t much enjoy making the jam, even though it is easy, but during these deep freeze days it tastes like a little bit of sunshine, especially when slathered over some homemade bread.

Blackcurrant Jam

Blackcurrant Jam

It won’t be long before green thumbs start to itch, seed catalogues begin arriving and plans begin to percolate, so let me put in a good word for Blackcurrant bushes. They are easy enough to grow, the bushes are sturdy and resilient and they usually bear very well.

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